April 15, 2009

Bangladesh's shrimp sector under threat by smuggled Indian fry

Bangladesh's shrimp industry is under threat from substandard Indian Golda fry that are smuggled into the country from across the border, said farmers.


Fake Golda fry are smuggled into Bangladesh and will hurt severely shrimp production and exports.


Huge amounts of young prawns are entering Bangladesh through the Satkhira border, said Sheikh Mohammad Shafiuddin, convener of Golda Hatchery Association of Bangladesh (SHAB).


Hatchery farmers are hurting because the smuggled fry are sold much cheaper than local varieties, he said.


Shafiuddin said government-approved hatcheries produce around 120 crore of fry per year, but demand are 120-150 crore.


Dr Mahmudul Karim, executive director of Bangladesh Shrimp and Fish Foundation, said farmers will be affected if they are given anything other than Golda fry, and he questioned the efficiency of fisheries officials as he had been hearing of the smuggling for some time.


Golda shrimp have good prospects but the industry needs the government's support, and local hatcheries are incapable of meeting the demand for Golda fry, Karim said.


Fisheries minister Abdul Latif Biswas said they had ran investigations but had no specific information to work on.


He said they will try to gather more information and take steps against those involved with the smuggling of fake fry.


Latif Biswas said a national policy on the shrimp sector would be formulated soon to control shrimp quality, and measures will be taken to breed quality Golda fry.


Last year, it was reported that a large number of low quality and virus-infected Indian fry were smuggled into Bangladesh on a daily basis through various border points, causing losses to Bangladeshi shrimp producers.


Shrimps account for nearly 90 percent of Bangladesh's frozen food exports, with 30 percent of the shrimps being Golda and the rest Bagda.