July 26, 2012
Pakistan's fish exports exceeded US$300 million for the first time and brings a higher average unit price (AUP) in the fiscal year of 2011-2012 against the 2010-2011 period.
Specifically, from July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012, there were a total of 124,489 tonnes of fish exported worth US$315 million -- up by 6.53% or US$19.343 million -- compared with 133,926 tonnes worth US$296 million in 2010-2011.
These achievements came despite a fall in the volume of exports and a continued ban on exports to the EU.
Faisal Iftikhar, chairperson of the Fisheries Exporters Association of Pakistan, connected the increase in the value of exports to a higher AUP of US$2.53 per kilogramme in 2011-2012 compared with US$2.21 per kilogramme in the previous period, Dawn.com reports.
Since the EU imposed its ban on Pakistani imports in April 2007 due to quality issues, the country has been losing out on US$50 million each year in fish exports.
At the same time, Pakistani exporters have been resourceful and found new markets -- with Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Middle East chief among them -- for their products.
Fish exports to China remained brisk this year as exporters fetched a better price than what European countries may have offered for almost all varieties sold. The country has also become a major supporter of Pakistani shrimp, Iftikhar said.
"China's import of cuttlefish and squid from Pakistan has swelled around 90% within a short period," he stated, Business Recorder reports.
"EU cannot offer the price China pays to Pakistani exporters for cuttlefish, squid and a variety of shrimp products," he also noted.
It is estimated that 342,655 tonnes of fish and other products originated from Sindh and Balochistan, 207,540 tonnes of which were from Sindh.
Iftikhar believes the landing of fish, which was 6%-8% lower compared to the previous year, brought on the shortage of raw materials but that an 8.8% devaluation of the local currency against the USD helped drive exports up.
He also said that there were reports that an EU mission may allow two exporting companies in Pakistan to resume exports to European countries after its visit to the country in September.
Official sources informed also that the EU delegation might allow imports of fish once the EU inspects sanitation facilities in Pakistan and determine that they meet EU standards, Daily Times reports.