The local fish exporting units on Tuesday said that they will be badly hit if the government decides to extend the 15-day fish import ban, which is set to expire.
Exporters said that they had made considerable efforts in developing the overseas market and indentifying buyers, and that they should not be made victims of the formalin controversy.
Expressing concerns on the demand from certain sections for a permanent ban, unit owners said the “unreasonable demand” is likely to impact their operations adversely and result in a shutdown of the fish processing industry.
The fish processing industry in the state comprises 12-odd units that survive on imports, the exporters said adding that about 80 per cent of the raw fish requirement is purchased from Kerala, Karnataka and Maharashtra.
“The state’s fishing season is short, and we need to import the fish to keep production facilities going,” said Domina D’Souza of Goan Bounty.
She said that peak imports are in the region of 120-150 trucks per day by the industry.
R S Jari of Corlim Marine Export Pvt Ltd pointed out that the fish varieties imported by the industry are not available locally.
He said that their business is mainly in shrimps, squids, cuttlefish, ribbonfish and mackerels, which are exported to Far East, China and Europe and other countries.
“The fish meant for export go through stringent checks and any trace of chemical would get the consignment rejected and the unit having to close down,” added Jari.
The exporters addressed a press conference at the GCCI in the presence of GCCI president Sandip Bhandare; president of the food processing committee Joseph D’Souza, and director general, GCCI, R S Kamat.
The annual fishing ban in the state is for a period of two months from June 1-July 31 during which the local exporting industry also takes a seasonal shutdown.
The unit owners claimed that they cannot resume production due to the clampdown on imports.
After the formalin-in-fish row erupted the state government imposed a 15-day ban on imports that ends on August 3.
Fish processors through the GCCI submitted a memorandum to the government on the import issue and are awaiting response.
Goa’s fish export as per MPEDA was 50,571 tonnes in 2017-18, and in 2018-19 it has been 43,199 tonne.
In value terms the exports were Rs 711.9 crore and Rs 641.4 crore.