EU Decision on Fish Imports "in the balance", 4/21/99

EU Decision on Fish Imports "in the balance", 4/21/99

EAST AFRICA: EU decision on fish imports "in the balance"

NAIROBI, 21 April (IRIN) - East African countries are anxiously awaiting the outcome of their pleas to the European Union (EU) to lift the temporary ban it has imposed on fish imports from Lake Victoria.

Delegates from Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya - which share the lake- travelled to Brussels last week in a bid to prove their governments' efforts to ensure safety in the fish industry after reports of fish poisoning through chemicals used by fishermen.

"It is up to the EU to decide whether the arguments warrant that the ban be lifted or sustained...the decision is hanging in the balance," an official from Kenya's Export Promotion Council told IRIN on Wednesday.

He said the Kenyan side had "put up a very strong argument" in Brussels. "The delegation gave facts and concrete steps taken by the government to avert the poisoning," he added.

The Kenyan delegation pointed out that 80 people had so far been arrested and prosecuted, the government had increased surveillance and patrols in the fishing areas and local communities had also set up vigilante groups.

The official added that research carried out also showed that the Nile perch species, the main fish for export, had not been affected because it was a deep water fish.

The fish industry generates US $240 million for the three east African countries. Uganda is already losing US $1 million in foreign exchange earnings per week following the EU ban, press reports said.

The EU has reportedly asked for details on the level of contamination, the degree of quality control over the product, and the methods of policing and surveying the lake.


Date: Wed, 21 Apr 1999 17:54:42 +0300 (EAT) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: EAST AFRICA: EU decision on fish imports "in the balance" [19990421]

Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D

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