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Mauritius Seafood Exporters Worried By New European Union Rules

Operators of the seafood sector in Mauritius are very anxious that they may lose some of the European seafood market following the decision of the European Union to impose new regulations concerning the export of seafood to the European market.

According to the new rules, a copy of which was given to the press on Thursday in Port Louis and which will come in force in January 2010, all exports of seafood to the EU should be accompanied with a \"Capture Certificate\" without which the products will not be allowed in the European market.

The aim of the certificate, according to the EU, is to ensure the traceability of the fish at different stages of production, namely from the capture, transformation, transport up to the sale of the product. Transshipment operations should also appear on the certificate.

Such information as where the fish had been captured, when, by which ship and at which date should also appear on the document.

The EU says another objective of the new legislation is to eliminate illegal fishing and protect the stocks of tuna fish.

Importing companies in Europe will have to deliver the certificate to the concerned authorities in Europe.

Alain Lenoir, managing director of the Marlin Export Company which exports seafood products to Europe, said the new legislation is good by itself but he was apprehensive that Mauritius does not have the necessary know-how to fulfil all the requirements of the EU by January 2010 and that some companies may lose their quota.

The Mauritius Seafood Council and Mauritius Export Association and all other partners in the sector including the Customs, maritime agencies, ministry of Agro-Industry and fishing companies are meeting next week to decide what measures should be taken in order to comply to the new EU regulations.