April 21, 2016


Saudi Arabia bans Pakistani farmed shrimp



Saudi Arabia has banned farmed shrimp imports from Pakistan due to reported outbreak of white spot disease, particularly in Rawalpindi and Islamabad, both in Punjab province.


The Saudi Embassy in Islamabad informed the Pakistani Foreign Affairs Ministry in a letter that the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) had ordered inspectors for imported food to "stop fresh, chilled or frozen shrimp consignments from Pakistan until stabilisation of health conditions".


Exempted from the ban are headless and peeled products, provided they have undergone physical and laboratory examination.


The Pakistani Marine Fisheries Department under the Ministry of Ports and Shipping, however, was reported to have disputed the listing of Pakistan by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) under the index of countries whose shrimp had been infected with the white spot disease, stressing that the country produces mainly wild marine shrimp and not farmed shrimp.


The fisheries agency asked the Ministry of Commerce to help in trying to delist Pakistan from the OIE list, describing the country's inclusion as a "misundertstanding".


"White spot disease only occurs in cultured shrimp as the white spot virus does not infect wild caught shrimp", it explained.


Last year Pakistan exported 189 metric tonnes of shrimp worth $2.175 million to Saudi Arabia, according to the Marine Fisheries Department.

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