The restriction was implemented just before the FIFA World Cup in response to reports that Vibrio cholera may have been found in a few imports from India.
A temporary ban on the import of frozen seafood from India has been lifted by Qatar, opening the door for more exports to the Gulf country after a months-long lull, according to local reports.
The ban was put into place in November, just days ahead of the World Cup, in response to reports that Vibrio cholera may have been found in a few shipments coming from India.
Prior to the football event, the Qatari government had assured India that the restriction was only temporary and was caused by a shortage of testing facilities, a statement by the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), the Hindu reported.
Since then, India’s Union Department of Trade and the Indian Embassy in Qatar have been working to find a solution.
The statement announcing the easing of the ban on frozen fish was the result of consultations with Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health. However, there are still limitations on chilled seafood.
Seafood that is chilled is kept at a temperature of 3–4°C whereas frozen seafood is kept at negative 20 degrees.
Provisional data indicates that India’s export to Qatar stood at approximately $11 million worth of seafood during the current fiscal year, primarily shrimp.
Recognising India’s assurances about source control, China removed the suspension of 99 Indian seafood processor exporters last week.
India’s Marine Products Export Development Authority and other organisations played a crucial role in securing Beijing’s suspension of a total of 110 units lifted since December 2020, according to reports.
“This week is proving to be very good for the seafood exporters in India, considering a similar lift in the suspension by China. We hope that the restrictions by Qatar on the chilled seafood will also be cleared soon after a reassessment of the situation,” said MPEDA Chairman D.V. Swami.
The export of frozen seafood, which accounts for about one-third of all seafood sent to Qatar in 2021–2022, will still be subject to restrictions.