Pakistan Seafood Industries Association says exports to Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand have virtually nullified the negative impact of EU ban. – Reuters photo KARACHI: Fish exports increased by 21 per cent in value during the nine months of the current fiscal year despite a ban imposed by EU on import of fish from Pakistan in April 2007 on quality issues.
Besides, exports fetched average unit price (AUP) of fish to $1.707 per kg in July-March 2008-09 as compared to $1.6 per kg in the same period of last fiscal.A total of 100,422 tons of fish were exported in the last nine months of current fiscal fetching $171.4 million as compared to 88,170 tons worth $141.5 million in the corresponding period of last year, showing increase of 14 per cent in quantity and 21 per cent in value, revealed figures of Federal Bureau of Statistics (FBS).
Director General Marine Fisheries Department (MFD) Mohammad Moazzam Khan linked the increase in fish exports mainly to rupee devaluation against the dollar and to higher prices from some Far Eastern countries. He recalled that a ban was imposed by the European Union (EU) in view of 23 deficiencies identified by an EU mission during January 2007 at various stages from auction hall to processing units. The country used to get higher price from the European buyers but exporters are now getting good price mainly from Malaysia and Indonesia, he said.
On prospects of lifting of EU ban, Khan said that Livestock and Dairy Development Minister Humayun Aziz Kurd informed the National Assembly recently that efforts were underway to comply with the requirement of EU high quality standards and hopefully the ban would be lifted by August this year.Chairman Pakistan Seafood Industries Association (PSIA) Faisal Iftikhar said that fisheries exports were suffering $100 million loss per annum due to the EU ban. However, the situation has changed in the last one year. As many as 30 fish processing units had been set up at the Balochistan Coastal Highway (from Hub, Damm, Ormara, Pasni, Jevani and Gwadar) in the last one year with an investment of Rs100 million each.He said these units were mainly exporting Indian Mackrel (local name is Bangra) to Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand. As many as 5,000 containers (with 27 tons load in each container) are being exported to these countries every year. Iftikhar said that Bangra fish is now getting over double price from these countries owing to high demand. Exporters used to send it at 50 cents per kg but now are fetching $2 per kg. Exports to these countries had virtually nullified the negative impact of EU ban on exports, he added. When asked as to when the EU would lift the ban as Pakistan’s name is not included in the list of inspection being taken by the EU during 2009 in various countries, the PSIA chairman said that processing units have met the EU quality standards now and other relevant sectors are ready for the inspection.
‘We want the government to dispatch an action plan by August to EU for inspection of the entire fisheries sector,’ he said adding that much depends on the federal government how it presents its case before the EU and get the ban removed. He recalled that PSIA in the second week of this month had demanded replacement of former DG MFD Javed Ishrat with a competent officer having a technical background of handling fisheries sector and also to resolve the issue of EU ban. He said exporters would soon meet the new DG MFD to discuss the issues of ban.
Courtesy: The DAWN