November 30, 2013
Kuwait, on Friday rejecting Pakistan”s fresh seafood consignments on quality grounds, becomes the second major Middle Eastern market after Saudi Arabia to reject the country”s marine products, sources said. Earlier, Saudi Arabia rejected the country”s fresh seafood for their “poor” quality some weeks ago, said Chairman Pakistan Fisheries Exporters Association (Pakfea), Faisal Iftikhar.
Kuwait followed Saudi Arabia to disqualify the seafood products on similar grounds, cancelling import orders of about 15,000 kilograms. Kuwait is one of the major seafood market for Pakistan in the region, he said.
“Kuwait discarded white pomfret and other fresh fish items after its civic administration found these unfit for human consumption,” sources said.
“Pakfea has been struggling for the last three years, asking Marine Fisheries Department (MFD) to set up its office at airport to examine consignments before shipment to the Middle East markets,” Faisal said.
There is a number of exporters who use fake documents to export their consignments of fresh fish and shrimps without complying with the quality standards, he said, adding that the MFD has to step up to protect the country”s seafood markets through strict implementation of rules.
Sources said the MFD inspectors are found with negligence to ensure implementation of world”s safety and hygienic standards before any seafood shipment takes place. “Quality is largely ignored by the fresh seafood exporters,” they pointed out.
They said the MFD”s poor performance is widely attributed to the disqualification of seafood consignments in the Middle Eastern markets. “Inspectors issue quality certificates for consignments without carrying out their examinations,” he said.
Faisal said there are “fake” exporters whose consignments carry diseases and are improperly packaged. “If the fresh seafood consignments are of poor quality, improperly packaged without stuffing of dry ice to maintain their quality then healthcare authorities will reject such shipments,” he added.
Two main markets of Saudi Arabia including Jeddah and Riyadh are no longer the country”s main destinations for fresh seafood products, he said, adding that the MFD has to play its legal role to allow export ensuring compliance with the set quality standards.
“Shrimps, dother, white pomfret and such other fish are favourite items in Middle Eastern markets where governments are strict on quality compliance,” sources said, adding that the exporters usually show negligence towards the global standards.
“Our association members are complying with the rules and standards for shipments to world markets,” said Chairman Pakfea, adding that the government has to ensure enforcement of its rules at all stages of export.
Pakistan exports nearly 15,000 kilogramme of seafood to Kuwait on daily basis, fisheries sources said. They said the disqualification of seafood consignments by Kuwaiti authorities pulled down the prices of white pomfret to Rs400 per kg from Rs1100 per kg in local market.
Courtesy Business Recorder