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September 21, 2018
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Seafood exports decline 9.5 percent to 13,301 tons in July-August

Business

September 21, 2018

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KARACHI: Pakistan’s seafood exports declined 9.5 percent to 13,301 tons during the first two months of FY2019, data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics showed.

In dollar terms, the seafood exports dropped 17 percent to $29.53 million against $35.562 million in the corresponding period of the last year. Pakistan’s fish and fish preparation exports increased to 7,849 tons in August, up 44 percent against 5,452 tons exported in July. However, exports remained 14 percent low against 9,091 tons exported in August 2017.

China is one of the largest buyer of Pakistan’s fish and fish preparations. Other buyers included Hong Kong, Indonesia, Egypt, Middle East, UK, Thailand, South Korea, Bangladesh, etc.

“Pakistan’s fish and fish preparations export are fetching per unit price of $2.27 to $2.5, which is lowest in the region, where the average price is around $7,” said Faisal Iftikhar, former president of the Pakistan Fisheries Exporters Association. “Our prices show that we export more fish meal and our prices are lower than quality fish meal price, which fetches $3/unit. We are going behind low quality exports.”

Quality seafood stocks are depleting in Pakistani waters because of overfishing and use of destructive nets, he said, adding that Pakistan mostly exports to China at lower rates, while EU lifted ban from two factories only amid political pressure without inspection of these factories on the ground.

“Revival of exports to the EU had no significant impact over Pakistan’s total seafood exports,” Iftikhar said. Pakistan’s seafood export has resumed to the EU, but only one factory, of the approved two factories, is exporting to the EU member countries. However, prices by the EU remained low.

“The prices are similar to China, which are very low,” said Capt Akhlaque, who is the only exporter of seafood to the EU. “We are not in a bargaining position. India is controlling the prices, whose 200 factories are exporting seafood to the EU.”

According to Marine Fisheries Department, there are around 150 fish and seafood exporting firms in Pakistan, of which 35 operate in the premises of Karachi Fisheries Harbour. Akhlaque said that Pakistan still has commercial fish stocks due to breeding season and complete ban on fishing during June and July, which helps in developing fish stocks. “This year too, the country expects better fishing stocks due to complete ban on fishing during June and July, he added.

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