Zam­bia urged to sus­pend Asian im­ports

Fish Farmer - - World News -

THE Zam­bian gov­ern­ment has been urged to sus­pend the im­por­ta­tion of fish from Asia, where tilapia lake virus is af­fect­ing the pro­duc­tiv­ity of fish farms, the Zam­bia Daily Mail re­ported.

Aqua­cul­ture Devel­op­ment of Zam­bia (ADAZ) trustee Fisho Mwale said the gov­ern­ment should also start is­su­ing health cer­tifi­cates prior to im­ports.

Mwale said there is a need to in­ten­sify health in­spec­tions of all im­ported fish if the coun­try is to avoid hav­ing ‘dis­carded’ fish from Asia that is bad for con­sump­tion.

He called for the in­creased aware­ness by bor­der staff of the mis­la­belling of Asian tilapia as Namib­ian mack­erel, aimed at avoid­ing pay­ing the nor­mal tax du­ties.

Mwale said the out­break of the tilapia lake virus posed a threat to Zam­bia’s grow­ing aqua­cul­ture sec­tor.

‘This is a new dis­ease that has spread quickly in­ter­na­tion­ally and for which there is no known cure. It has wreaked havoc on many Asian tilapia mar­kets. Lead­ing ex­perts do not yet know if the virus can travel by frozen fish.

‘We pro­pose that un­til fur­ther re­search is con­ducted, im­ports of frozen fish, live fish and fish eggs from the af­fected coun­tries are banned to Zam­bia, to pro­tect our fish stocks and fish farm­ers,’ he said dur­ing a sym­po­sium for ADAZ mem­bers last month.

Mwale said it is dif­fi­cult for Zam­bian farms to com­pete with un­fair com­pe­ti­tion from im­ported fish which are of­ten a health hazard.

‘We are not ad­vo­cat­ing a to­tal ban on im­ports since Zam­bian fish farm­ers can and should com­pete in an open mar­ket. But we are re­quest­ing a level play­ing field.

‘Some im­ported tilapia suf­fer from prob­lems…these fish are not fit for con­sump­tion in other mar­kets and so are dumped in Africa at low prices.

‘This is not safe for hu­man con­sump­tion and preys on low in­come con­sumers. Also, im­ported fish is of­ten ad­ver­tised as be­ing Zam­bian.’

Above: am­bia s a ua­cul­ture sec­tor must com­pete on a level play­ing field

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