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Export of fish to EU may resume this year

ISLAMABAD, June 1: Exp-ort of fish and fishery products to the European Union which was suspended in 2007 is expected to resume this year.

Official sources told Dawn on Friday that the European Union had expressed satisfaction with most of the steps taken by the government. However, with regard to the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) of processing plants, the European Union had asked for an inspection report which the government has submitted to the EU.

The report has been prepared in consultation the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation.

Sources said that export of fisheries to EU countries would be among the issues to be discussed as part of promotion of bilateral trade during the upcoming visit of Catherie Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to Islamabad next week.

To meet the requirements of the European Union, two laboratories of the Mariner Fisheries Department have achieved accreditation under international standards and now the test report of these laboratories are recognised all over the world.

More than 500 fishing boats have been upgraded; the Sindh government contributed 75 per cent while 25 per cent contribution was made by owners to upgrade present standards.

Official statistics show that Pakistan earned $222.8 million from export of 84,498 million tons of fish and fish preparation during the first 10 months of 2011-12 to China, Thailand, Middle East, Sri Lanka and Japan.