Argentinean shrimp. (Photo: Stock File)
Argentinean shrimp import, hampered
Wednesday, August 22, 2012, 01:20 (GMT + 9)
The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture (MPA) in Brazil has not made a final decision on the import of Argentinean shrimp (Pleoticus muelleri) in the country, even when having the assurance that it is safe and free from diseases.
Although last week the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (Minagri) of Argentina announced the authorisation of national shrimp exports to the Brazilian market, the Brazilian government denied the statement.
"The import of shrimp from Argentina has not been authorised by MPA" and the issue "is being discussed with other federal government entities and authorities of Argentina, apart from the Brazilian productive sector," the official noted.
"The Ministry is assessing the health concerns and the relevance of this import, taking into account the national interest," the statement added, according to Valor Econômico.
Government sources admitted that the ban on the import of Argentinean shrimp is a protectionist measure, since the entrance of this crustacean from abroad might affect producers in the country, who will have no work.
However, the entrepreneur Fernando Perri, president of the restaurant chain Vivenda de Camarao, considers that what happens is that there is "a lobby of shrimp producers, led by the Brazilian Association of Shrimp Breeders (ABCC), which blocks imports claiming health issues. In fact, they instituted a market reserve and they liked it," he argued.
Thales Passos de Andrade, a specialist in marine shrimp diseases, recommends keeping the instruction rule that prohibits the resource import due to the existence "of viral disease spread risks for the crustacean of aquatic systems in Brazil."
According to the technical study commissioned by the ABCC and performed by the expert in January 2011, these diseases could enter the country "through the import of live animals or of frozen products from this species."
Anyway, Passos de Andrade clarified that this would be avoided if "techniques, diagnostic equipment and staff training for the adoption of procedures for the detection of these agents" were made viable.
ABCC President, Itamar Rocha, claimed the ban on shrimp imports was "never" a market reserve.
"There are dozens of diseases that are found in other countries and we do not want them to come here. We have scientific evidence that shrimp from other countries have diseases. This is a health risk that Brazil can not run," added Rocha.
Finally, he warned: "Argentina has never exported shrimp here and what’s the hurry now? Argentinean authorities want to organise a triangular operation with shrimp from Ecuador and China, and send it here."
Last week, the head of Minagri, Norberto Yauhar, rejected the rumours that Brazil would suspend the import of Argentinean shrimp.
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By Analia Murias