AQUA NEWS

CHINESE BAN ON NINE FIRMS HITS PAKISTAN’S FISH EXPORTS

Qadri Noori Enterprise CEO Manzar Alam told that around 50 companies have been exporting fish to China. Out of top 15 exporters, some nine firms are now temporarily banned by the Chinese authorities. Giving details of the ban, he said in case the coronavirus is detected in one shipment, the exporter faces a one-week ban and in case of four cases, then the exporter cannot send the shipment for eight weeks. He said Pakistan’s seafood exports have since been in crisis as 60% of the country’s total fish exports are destined for China. Mr Alam said coronavirus had been detected in outer cartons and the Chinese authorities instead of destroying the infected consignment or sending it into quarantine for 15 days had suspended the shipping company. “The rejected consignments then arrived back in Pakistan and exporters are facing Rs2 million per container as demurrage and detention and taxes,” he added. “Exporters have taken up the matter with Commerce Adviser Abdul Razak Dawood who had constituted a committee, but no headway has been made so far,”. One container with 26 tonnes of fish carries a price between Rs7m and Rs10m, he said. Pakistan has been exporting seafood at an average unit price (AUP) of less than $2.5 per kg kg from FY18 to FY21 as compared to AUP of $5 to 8 per kg earned by regional competitors. “We have been exporting small fish which earn low prices for the last four years,” Deep Blue Seafood Ltd CEO M. Faisal Iftikhar Ali said, adding that fish meal  is being exported in bulk quantities which is used in poultry feed. He said India is fetching an AUP of $5-7 per kg followed by over $5 by Bangladesh and $7-8 per kg by China. The average global AUP comes to $5 per kg. Pakistan’s fish and fish preparation exports in FY21 stood slightly higher at 184,396 tonnes fetching $414m but AUP came to $2.25 per kg. According to the Economic Survey FY21, Pakistan’s main buyers of fish products are China, Thailand, Malaysia, the Middle East, Sri Lanka and Japan. The survey said since resumption of exports to the European Union (EU), several consignments of fish, cuttlefish and shrimps had been sent by two exporters who were cleared after 100 per cent laboratory tests at the EU borders. Six more fish processing plants are in the pipeline and their cases for approval are under process with the EU authorities. Mr Faisal said India as well as other countries are giving a tough time to Pakistan as these competitors have adopted shrimp farming while in Pakistan there is negligible marine farming. Pakistan has been facing a problem of overfishing of juvenile fish causing persistent drop in landing of high value fish, he said, adding that a joint study by FAO of  and MFD assessment 2015 revealed massive fish stocks depletion in Pakistan’s seas. Technical Adviser (Marine Fisheries), WWF-Pakistan, Mohammad Moazam Khan said the export is increasing mainly because of rising export of fish meal. If this illegal trade is controlled Pakistani exports may reach a level of at least $550m. Immediate need to reduce fleets to avoid fisheries collapse.