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Fish farming: Nudge to shun use of antibiotics as exports to EU hit

Fish farming: Nudge to shun use of antibiotics as exports to EU hit
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Kolkata: After European Union (EU) complained of antibiotics being present in fishes imported from Bengal, the state Fisheries department has decided to conduct a meeting with the farmers and ask them to shun the use of such chemicals. Instead, they will be encouraged to use probiotics.

"The trading norms in the EU are more stringent than the rules in the United States, South East Asia and the Middle East. Recently, EU conducted a random inspection of our consignment. During the inspection, it was found that some fishes contained antibiotics. If they continue to find antibiotics in the fishes, then they may stop importing fish from our state. This will hit the revenue," said a senior official of the state Fisheries department.

"We will train them on the use of probiotics for aquaculture so that they stop using antibiotics," said P.K. Mishra, Principal Secretary of state Fisheries department.

Probiotics, which increase the content of crude protein and lipid, can be used as growth promoters in edible fishes.

As per figures available with the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) – the nodal agency for the holistic development of the sea food industry,

1,1382 tonnes of fish were exported from India to EU during the 2019-20 fiscal. The trade fetched Rs 531.09 crore.

Frozen fish, the bulk of which is shrimp, is exported in reefer containers via sea route to different parts of the world.

Apart from Bengal, other states like Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Goa, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat also export fish.

The export of sea shrimp to the US has also been hit. The United States has stopped buying shrimp as the fishermen in India don't use nets for conservation turtles while fishing.

The Ministry of Commerce has urged the Bengal Fisheries department to take concrete steps with respect to the Marine Fisheries Regulation Act of the state so that they can take up the matter with US authorities for lifting the ban.

Around 80 per cent of the total shrimps exported from India are cultivated while 20 per cent are captured in seas.

An official in the state Fisheries department said 85 per cent shrimps from Bengal are exported and only 15 per cent are used for domestic

consumption.

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