The EU team along with United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (Unido) experts visited the harbour last week to inspect key installations. Leading the delegation, Development Advisor Economic Co-operation and Trade, EU – Riccardo Rossi showed “serious reservations” over the poor maintenance of seafood auction halls, they said. “The delegation asked the authorities to ensure improvements on an urgent basis and in effective manner,” sources said, adding that the delegation was shocked to witness the “undesirable” poor condition of harbour facilities.
The EU has lifted seafood export ban from Pakistan last March to allow its two companies after six years to do trade with the union countries. “Instead, the authorities concerned could improve conditions after the EU ban lift, it had turned more frightening,” sources said. When asked Managing Director (MD), Karachi Fish Harbour Authority (KFHA), Dr Kazim Hussain Jatoi about the EU’s fresh concerns, he told Business Recorder that Fishermen Co-operative Society (FCS) was responsible for maintenance of the facilities.
“KFHA has sent a letter to the FCS to remove the EU’s concerns,” he said, adding that “The FCS should take all necessary measures for maintenance of auction halls and entire area under its jurisdiction”. The EU delegation along with Unido experts paid a follow-up visit to the country’s larges fisheries harbour on last August 27, found “undesirable” condition at seafood auction halls.
“They (EU, Unido officials) have shown their serious reservations over the poor maintenance of auction hall, K-III, which was maintained by FCS, leading to unhygienic condition which is undesirable,” said the KFHA letter to FCS. Sources said the inspection team advised the authorities to ensure improvement on urgent basis with effective control. The KFHA has suggested the FCS to play its role in removing the EU’s concerns and properly control the seafood handling and all facilities.
Pakistan lost at least $300 million seafood export to the EU markets since 2007 until the ban was lifted in March this year. Pakistan’s share of fisheries export to the EU markets was 26 percent of its total global seafood trade in 2007, according to fisheries officials. The EU has a big appeal for Pakistan’s seafood including PUD, pink and brown shrimps, squid fish and cuttlefish. “The FCS will be responsible for any kind of seafood export restrictions on the country,” warned, Dr Kazim Hussain Jatoi.