‘EU shouldn’t ban or blacklist seafood exporters over consignment issues’-Indian Seafood Exporters

Indian authorities have urged the European Union (EU) neither to ban nor blacklist any seafood exporter immediately if they have found problems with just one consignment as this 'extreme' step would work against the interests of all the stakeholders in the industry. "EU should issue a warning to the exporter, and give them reasonable time to remove the inadequacies before de-listing the company," said Chairman of Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) A Jayathilak. Jayathilak said this on Monday while chairing the EU-India Shrimp Dialogue organised in association with the Embassy of the Netherlands. The session was part of the three-day 21st India International Seafood Show 2018 held in Goa and organised jointly by MPEDA and Seafood Export Association of India (SEAI) from January 27 to 29. Instant blacklisting unjust Instant blacklisting is unjust as this also destroyed the exporters' reputation built over several years and jeopardised their huge investments in the cost-intensive business, besides affecting the livelihood of millions of farmers, Jayathilak said. EU, which is the third-largest market for Indian seafood exporters, has regularly been complaining about the presence of antibiotics in Indian shipments. In November 2017, an EU delegation was tasked to audit the control systems put in place in order to govern the production of exportable fishery products in India.

He reportedly exuded satisfaction on the quality of shrimp production. 40% increase in sample size demanded The MPEDA chairman also described EU's decision to increase the sample size from 10 per cent to 50 per cent for testing the seafood consignments from India unfair as the same was kept at 10 per cent for other exporting countries. The sample size was being kept at 10 per cent even for Vietnam and Bangladesh whose consignments had also failed the food safety tests, said SEAI General Secretary Elias Sait while endorsing MPEDA's pleas. Wojciech Dziowrski, counsellor for health and food safety for the EU delegation to India, countered this view saying a certain number of samples from India and these two countries tested positive. However, Sait argued that these countries could not be compared in terms of failed sample numbers as India's volume of export was quite high and the sample size was five times higher. Export Inspection Council (EIC) Director S K Saxena said that the twin blow — instant ban and 50 per cent sample size — was in place despite the fact that the quality control mechanism had been tightened further in the past two years. Some of the blacklistings were done on the basis of minuscule variations from the food quality benchmark, Saxena added. He also wanted the relisting to take place in suitable cases within a short time. Saxena said that India is in the process of asking EU to relist the wrongly de-listed companies and let them resume their business. He made the statement in response to concerns raised by seafood associations of Kerala and West Bengal that a number of companies, de-listed by EU due to wrong testing by labs in importing countries, were suffering for no fault of theirs. A number of consignments rejected by importing countries in Europe, for allegedly containing banned antibiotics and chemical substances beyond permissible limits, were found to be in order during further tests conducted in Indian laboratories, these associations said. Saxena suggested that exporters convince the importing companies in EU to get the failed samples tested in one more lab to prevent wrong rejections. A representative of farmers involved in shrimp farming suggested that quality tests should be conducted at the farm level rather than when the processing was over, adding that farmers were blamed even in cases where the processing sector was at fault.

Rapid Detection Kits for Adulterants in Fresh Fish developed by CIFT, Kochi

Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister, Shri Radha Mohan Singh today launched the Rapid Detection Kits for Adulterants in Fresh Fish, developed by Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT), Kochi. Ammonia helps in preventing ice from melting and use of formaldehyde increases the shelf life of fish therefore many people in the fisheries sector are using these chemicals. The kit helps in detecting both the chemicals in the fish. Shri Singh informed that continuous ingestion of ammonia and formaldehyde can lead to many health issues including abdominal pain, vomiting, unconsciousness, and sometimes even cause death. Union Agriculture Minister said it today at the launch of kit in New Delhi. Read more… “Rapid Detection Kits for Adulterants in Fresh Fish developed by CIFT, Kochi”

MPEDA, Switzerland’s COOP in pact for organic aqua farming

To cater to the growing demand for organic seafood products across the European Union, COOP Cooperative — one of Switzerland’s biggest retail and wholesale companies — has partnered with the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) to develop export-oriented organic aqua farming in India.

Mpeda will assist in identifying entrepreneurs and providing them with technical advice on the production of high-quality organic shrimp that meet national and international certification protocols.

COOP, which today has nearly 2,200 sales outlets throughout Switzerland and wholesale/production business across Europe, has offered to procure the processed organic shrimp at a premium of up to 15 per cent and with an additional 5 per cent through financing for development activities, including training.

The pilot project will be run in Kerala to produce organic black tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon) initially in 1,000 hectares, and if successful, extended to other locations across the country.

According to A Jayathilak, Chairman, Mpeda, there is an increased awareness across Europe about organic produce and it constitutes a niche market. The reason why many farmers are hesitant to get into organic production is the increased costs involved. The premium price offered will offset the extra cost and incentivise them to explore organic farming.

Mpeda and COOP will facilitate the certification of a shrimp hatchery for the production of organic shrimp seed and similarly certify and empanel a small scale feed mill unit to source the organic feed for the project.

Gerard Zurlutter, Member of Management, COOP, said India would be their second leg in organic farming after Vietnam, where they have had success with similar projects and organic producers who are generating considerably higher revenues than conventional farmers.

Indian White Shrimp gets full marks in Demo farm at Andhra Pradesh by CIBA

Scientists at the Chennai-based Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture (CIBA) have completed farming trials on Indian White Shrimp (Penaeus indicus) in all the maritime States in the country, including Nellore in Andhra Pradesh, establishing the species as prime alternative to the exotic vannammei.

A team of scientists led by CIBA Director K.K. Vijayan will share their findings on Indian White Shrimp cultivation with aqua farmers on Thursday (January 11).

The shrimp seed was collected from the Bay of Bengal and other parts of India for the trials which began in 2016 with the support of the National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB).

“The results of the trials in a majority of the locations are encouraging to consider it as an alternative species to vannamei, which has been found prone to diseases,” CIBA principal scientist Akshaya Panigrahi told The Hindu over phone.

Mr. Akshaya is the principal investigator of the farming trials project. “The root causes for diseases in vannamei are yet to be fully known. Factors such as farming feasibility, survival and growth rate of the Indian White Shrimp are enabling us to recommend it is an alternative to the Vannamei,” said Mr. Akshaya.

Source: The Hindu