Since January, several Pakistani firms have faced a temporary prohibition on exports of fish and fish preparations to China due to the detection of coronavirus in their shipments.
Manzar Alam, chief executive officer of Qadri Noori Enterprise, stated that about 50 firms have been exporting fish to China. The Chinese authorities have temporarily blacklisted nine of the top 15 exporters.
He explained the prohibition by saying that if the coronavirus is discovered in one cargo, the exporter faces a one-week ban, and if four instances are detected, the exporter cannot deliver the shipment for eight weeks.
According to Mr. Alam, coronavirus was detected in outer cartons, and instead of burning the contaminated shipment or quarantining it for 15 days, Chinese officials suspended the shipping business.
“The rejected consignments then arrived back in Pakistan, and exporters are facing demurrage, detention, and taxes of Rs2 million each container,” he added.
From FY18 to FY21, Pakistan exported seafood at an average unit price (AUP) of less than US$2.5 per kg, compared to regional rivals’ AUPs of US$5 to $8 per kg.
“We have been exporting small fish that earn low prices for the past four years,” said M. Faisal Iftikhar Ali, CEO of Deep Blue Seafood Ltd, adding that fishmeal is being exported in large quantities, which is used in poultry feed.
He stated that India receives an AUP of $5-7 per kg, with Bangladesh receiving more than $5 and China receiving an AUP of $7-8 per kg. The global average AUP is $5 per kilogram.