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Pakistan's Seafood Exports Reach Record High of $469 Million in FY23

 Pakistan's Seafood Exports Reach Record High of $469 Million in FY23

Pakistan's seafood industry celebrates a significant milestone as the country's seafood exports soar to a record-breaking $469 million in the financial year 2022-23. Despite challenges such as overfishing, falling commodity prices, declining unit value, and a global industry slowdown, traders have managed to achieve this remarkable feat.

The last time Pakistan came close to this figure was in FY 2017-18 when seafood exports reached $451 million. However, industry experts believe that if foreign market restrictions are lifted, Pakistan has the potential to reach exports worth $1 billion.

One of the key factors contributing to this export success is the depreciation of Pakistan's rupee against the US Dollar, according to Saeed Farid, Vice Chairman of the Pakistan Fisheries Exporter Association (PAKFEA).

While higher domestic market costs have posed challenges, the currency depreciation has been beneficial for exports.

Farid noted that the industry has adapted to post-Covid demand in the global market, resulting in a surplus supply. This has enabled Pakistan to export specialized seafood products such as squid, octopus, ivory shell, and other shellfish to non-traditional fisheries markets.

However, Farid expressed regret over the US ban on shrimp trade, which has hindered Pakistan's seafood industry potential. The ban, in place for six years, stems from non-compliance with Turtle Excluder Device (TED) regulations. Similarly, the European Union has imposed a ban since 2007, with limited exceptions, while India and Iran continue to export seafood to the EU.

Farid emphasized that if over 300 seafood processing establishments under the Pakistan Fish Inspection and Quality Control Act 1997 were allowed to export their products, exports could potentially reach $1 billion.

Despite the growth in exports, the industry faces a severe shortage of raw materials for processing plants. Aquaculture and shrimp farming are seen as crucial for future growth.

Muhammad Moazzam Khan, former Director General of the Marine Fisheries Department, praised the industry's achievement in the face of challenges. He also highlighted the opportunity to formalize the transportation of nearly 200 tons of tuna worth $200 million to Iran through proper channels, which could elevate Pakistan's seafood exports from $700 million to $1 billion.

Pakistan's seafood exports hitting a record high reflects the industry's resilience and potential for growth. As the sector continues to adapt to market demands and overcome barriers, it opens doors for increased revenue and a promising future.

Pakistan's Seafood Exports Reach Record High of $469 Million in FY23

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