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Thursday, May 12, 2005

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Japan alert on banned antibiotics — Govt steps up vigil on shrimp shipments

Our Bureau

Kochi , May 11

THE Government authorities and seafood exporters have stepped up monitoring activities to detect presence of any banned antibiotics in shrimp after Japan has issued an alert.

The Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) has initiated a programme to draw samples from hatcheries for laboratory testing to ensure that no shrimp consignment contained antibiotics such as Nitrofuran Metabolites.

The MPEDA Chairman, Mr G. Mohan Kumar, said samples collected were being tested on a day-to-day basis after the Japanese authorities detected presence of banned substances in 3-4 containers sent from India.

"There was no rejection of these containers as such and they have only informed us about the detection," Mr Kumar said, refuting reports that Japan rejected 28 containers of shrimp exported from India.

MPEDA has embarked upon an awareness programme to educate farmers about the hazards of using antibiotics in their shrimp farms. "Village level campaigns and workshops are taking place, mostly in Andhra Pradesh," Mr Kumar said.

He said farmers were expected to be "sufficiently aware" about the implications before the next harvesting season in July this year.

Mud crab seeds developed

The Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Aquaculture, an organisation under the MPEDA, has successfully completed a trial run to culture mud crab seeds for the first time in the country, Mr Kumar said.

This achievement would pave the way for large-scale production of mud crab seeds, he said. Very few countries such as the Philippines, Australia, Vietnam and Indonesia had so far succeeded in the large-scale production of mud crab seeds.

The trial runs were undertaken in the last quarter of 2004 in a mud crab hatchery located at Thirumullaivasal in Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu. The technology has been streamlined and a suitable protocol established for production of the seeds in a big way. The development is expected to help bolster exports of mud crab (also known as black crab) from India, Mr Kumar said. In 2004-05, India exported 1,749 tonnes of live crabs valued at $7.8 million.

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