EU bans seafood from Pakistan

Published: Sunday 15 April 2007

-- (Credit: SHYAMAL)the European Union (eu) banned 11 Pakistani export firms from exporting seafood to eu countries in February citing unhealthy and unhygienic conditions at Karachi port in Sindh province. This is the only port through which maritime exports are routed.

The shipments of the de-listed exporters will not be accepted after April 12, 2007. This decision came after a three-member team from the eu visited the Karachi Fish Harbour in January 2007 to inspect the conditions prevailing at the harbour.

This is a huge loss to the country--seafood exports to eu comprise 50 per cent of its seafood exports."The responsibility for this setback lies solely with the government, the marine fisheries department, Karachi Fish Harbour Authority, the Sindh fisheries department and the Fishermen Cooperative Society, since eu had constantly warned them about unhygienic conditions at the harbours," said Mohammad Ali Shah, chairperson of the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum. "Millions of gallons of untreated industrial and municipal waste are being dumped daily in the Arabian Sea," he added. Exporters also blamed the government. "The government failed to inform exporters about the reservations of the eu," said Sardar Hanif Khan, chairperson of Pakistan Seafood Exporters Association.

In February 2005, the eu had warned Pakistani authorities to ensure port quality as per eu standards failing which they would lose an important market. Subsequently, the Pakistan government barred seafood exports to the eu for six months resulting in a loss of us $50 million to the country. After adopting some clean-up measures and assurances from the Sindh government, the ban was lifted in August 2005.

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