October 24, 2008

 

Andhra government in India to enforce strict standards in seafood export

 

 

The Andhra government and the EU's Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) is set to enforce strict hygiene standards in the state's unauthorised aquaculture farms and fishing harbours. 

 

Reports of contaminated fish and shrimp samples from the state, a leading exporter of seafood to Europe, have led to the drive to enforce strict cleanliness standards.

 

The Government crackdown comes after eight of the dozen shrimp export samples, sourced from the unregistered shrimp farms dotting coastal Andhra were found contaminated with bacteria. The EU team's visit comes in the wake of growing concerns over the deplorable cleanliness and hygiene standards at AP's fishing harbours. After a similar visit last year, the EU had warned that it would ban imports from the state if hygiene standards were not improved to meet international standards. 

 

Commissioner of Fisheries Arvind Kumar said that the contaminated shrimp samples had prompted the Department to take action against unregistered aqua culture farms.

 

There are 17,000-odd aqua farms in AP of which only 8,000 are registered while 3,500 are in the process of being registered. The registered ones are monitored which means they conform to certain standards. Most of the unregistered aqua farms, to cut costs, don't conform to all the rules. There are serious concerns that the EU might start rejecting imports from the state. Of the RS3,000 crores seafood export, shrimp is 50 percent, said Kumar. 

 

The state Government has set a November 15 deadline for aqua farms to get themselves registered with the Coastal Aqua Culture Authority.