SAUDI ARABIA - Following a report from the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) on the detection of white spot in farmed shrimp in Pakistan, the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) has placed a ban on shrimp imports from the country.
"The SFDA has notified the inspection authorities for imported food to stop fresh, chilled or frozen shrimp consignments from Pakistan until stabilisation of health conditions," a letter of Saudi Embassy in Islamabad to Foreign Affairs Ministry says.
However, the Marine Fisheries Department - Federal Ports and Shipping Ministry seeks help from the Commerce Ministry to help Pakistan get delisted from the OIE's index of countries which shrimps had been detected with the white spot disease, reports BusinessRecorder.
It called the OIE report on Pakistani shrimp disease 'misunderstanding'. It said that the country was primarily producing wild marine shrimps and ruled out production of farmed shrimps in Pakistan.
"White spot disease only occurs in cultured shrimp as the white spot virus does not infect wild caught shrimp," it said.
According to the MFD, Pakistan exported 189 metric tons of shrimp to Saudi Arabia worth $2.175 million in 2015. The total seafood export was 2,016 metric tons valuing $7.494 million. The MFD seems worried on the effect the blanket ban will have on Pakistan's seafood export earnings.
The ban by Saudi Arabia excludes headless and peeled products [except the remains of shrimp including its tail], provided that physical and laboratory examination of all consignments is performed.
Processed products ready for direct human consumption or by any method of cooking and, heat treated products are also allowed.
TheFishSite News Desk