Acting EU Ambassador, Stefano Gatto on Thursday visited Karachi Fish Harbor and inspected the facilities including boats, auction halls and seafood processing plants, the harbor officials said. The ambassador visited all the key sites at the fisheries harbor and gave a ‘positive’ nod to the concerned authorities after being briefed during an in-camera session, they added.
“The EU ambassador raised no questions during the briefing and the harbor visit. His expression was clearly positive,” an official told Business Recorder, saying that the envoy was also briefed about the hygienic conditions of harbor and its facilities.
In the briefing, the ambassador was also informed about the EU ban that began in 2007 on Pakistan’s seafood export to the 28-nation bloc on three primary reasons that included deficiencies in export industry, boats and seafood handling.
To remove the ban, the government initiated a scheme called “Rehabilitation & Renovation of Karachi Fish Harbor” that cost Rs507.865 million with a view to implement the EU specifications for resumption of seafood trade. The scheme remained in place from 2007 to 2012, the EU visiting envoy was informed.
The scheme helped modify 538 wooden fishing boats. Fishermen also contributed to 520 boats modification. The modification process continues. “20,000 plastic crates, 15,000 plastic baskets, 1,500 IPCs, 150 SS trolleys and on Board FIPs provided to boats and auction halls,” it was told during the briefing.
With completion of the rehabilitation scheme, the country’s seafood export to the EU started on March 12, 2013, the official said at the briefing, adding that Sindh government, Karachi Fish Harbor Authority and Marine Fisheries Department were the main actors to exert efforts for renewal of fisheries trade with the European nations.
In further development, the EU ambassador was told that the government had approved a scheme-I “Rehabilitation & Renovation of KFH – External Services” that will cost Rs1.438 million in 2014-15. The scheme is expected to complete by 2017.
The scheme will help built a fire fighting system, sewerage network system and sewerage treatment plants, a water supply system and a 0.5 MGD RO plant, RCC roads and stone pitching, electrical works and flood lights, rehabilitation of steel bridges and floating pontoons, floating check post, CCTV system for Harbor, fixed jetties and KFHA boundary wall.
Pakistan faced a $20 million seafood export decline last fiscal year to $349.557 million from $369.458 in the corresponding fiscal year. In term of volume, the country’s seafood export scaled down by seven percent or 9,859 metric tons last fiscal year to 140,639 metric tons as compared to 150,498 metric tons in 2013-14.