labels: industry - general, trade
Indian seafood industry for setting up 30 world-class labs news
James Paul
14 October 2002

Kochi: The Indian seafood industry, hit by the export ban on five value-added seafood units, has demanded setting up of at least 30 world-class testing laboratories on India’s western and eastern coasts and bringing the 400 shrimp hatcheries and aqua farms under some form of control.

More testing facilities with appropriate trained manpower have to be set up to meet the requirement, says Abraham Tharakan, the president of Kerala Seafood Exporters’ Association and a major Indian seafood exporter.

To eliminate the risk of antibiotics, the exporters have already decided to purchase shrimp from 17 October 2002 from only those aquaculture farms that have an antibiotic-free certificate from the Marine Products Export Development Agency, the Export Inspection Agency or the Central Institute of Fisheries Technology.

Calling for regulation and monitoring of hatcheries and farms on the use of antibiotics, Tharakan says China, Vietnam and Thailand have all brought in strict regulations to ensure that no antibiotics are used in shrimp hatcheries and farms.

The association has already submitted a Rs 180-crore proposal for developing a world-class seafood export processing zone in Kochi. The zone will have a fishing harbour, captive power plant and an effluent treatment plant among others, thus ensuring quality shipment of seafood products that meet world standards.

Tharkan says the exporters do not have the capability to control or prevent the hatcheries and farms in the usage of prohibited antibiotics. “Neither do the seafood exporting units have the financial capacity to install individual HPLC or Ms Equipment (each costs over Rs 2 crore) to detect the trace of antibiotics.”

The seafood association’s decision not to take in raw materials if unaccompanied by the antibiotic-free certificate is not in protest following the ban imposed by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), but is only to create awareness, he adds.

Tharkan says ever since the European Union (EU) started its sophisticated testing for antibiotic residues in food products, the seafood industry had time and again urged the commerce ministry, the Marine Products Exports Development Authority and EIA to harmonise testing procedures with that of EU.


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Indian seafood industry for setting up 30 world-class labs