Andhra team on fish mission

Andhra team on fish mission
Food safety commissioner I Himato Zhimomi, state officials and officials from Andhra Pradesh Friday.
Staff Reporter/Agencies Dimapur, Jul 27 (NPN): | Publish Date: 7/28/2018 12:00:00 AM IST

 In a bid to save the giant fish industry facing losses due to fish ban, a team from Andhra Pradesh is on a tour of the north east region to convince the states to lift the ban on fish from Andhra Pradesh.

 Food Safety Commissioner Nagaland, I. Himato Zhimomi, in a tweet, said he met Andhra Fisheries Commissioner on Friday in Kohima during which he reiterated the official stand that formalin treated fish would not be permitted to be sold in Nagaland. Himato further requested fish traders to be ethical and use only safe preservation methods.

Nagaland banned imported fish on June 22 after fish samples were found to contain formalin under laboratory tests. Kerala banned it on June 24 after detecting traces of formalin in fishes.

Manipur had also banned import of iced-packed fish from other states on June 30 after traces of formalin was found in the fishes. Assam imposed ban on July 11 but only for ten days. A high level team from Andhra Pradesh fisheries visited Guwahati on July 14 to assess the situation.  The ban on imported fish in Assam was lifted on July 22. Out of over 10,000 tonnes of fish imported to Assam annually, 90 per cent of it comes from Andhra Pradesh. Meghalaya banned imported fishes on July 23 for 15 days. 

Andhra CM appeals: Despite laboratory tests done in various states that confirmed presence of harmful formalin preservative in fishes from Andhra Pradesh, its chief minister Chandra Babu Naidu, in a letter to the chief ministers of north eastern states has termed the allegations as “ an attempt to defame the state’s brand in fish business and discourage exports from Andhra Pradesh.”. 

In his letter, Naidu requested support to ascertain genuineness of allegations and urges the states to continue accepting fish supplies from AP. Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Manipur had imposed a formal ban on fish imported from Andhra Pradesh after traces of formalin, a chemical substance used for preservation of dead bodies was found in fishes imported from Andhra Pradesh.

Fish traders and suppliers in Andhra alleged that the local fish traders of the North Eastern states were spreading rumours in order to drastically increase the price of locally sourced fish. Naidu said the fish traders in AP have strongly denied the allegations and have requested the state to intervene to restore the good relations between the states.

In order to resume its giant fish export industry, Naidu said the AP government has assured quality checks at all levels right from farmers, traders, transporters up to the border point of each state. Andhra fisheries authorities are visiting NE states from Friday in order to sensitise the state fishery officials about the steps taken by the AP government to improve the quality of fish exported to other states.

The entire issue came to light on June 24, when over 6,000 kg of fish from Andhra Pradesh were seized at the border checkpost at Walayar in Palakkad in Kerala were found to contain formalin, a carcinogenic substance.


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