Qatar has imposed a temporary ban on import of sea-foods from Bangladesh, as health hazardous bacteria were found in some export consignments, sources said.
The import ban included different sea-foods, like fish, shrimp, squid, mussels, oysters, etc, they added.
The move came following a domestic quality check, initiated by the Qatar government ahead of the FIFA Football World Cup 2022 that is going on in the country.
The Ministry of Public Health of Qatar suggested imposing ban on importing different sea-foods from Bangladesh due to presence of contaminated substances in such foods. It issued an urgent alert through a statement on October 08.
The statement also mentioned communication with the competent authority of Bangladesh in this regard.
The Muslim country's sudden decision to stop import of sea-foods is embarrassing for Bangladesh, said an official of the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock (MoFL).
Besides, it would create a negative impact on export of such foods to other countries of the Middle East region, opined an intelligence report.
The report also suggested necessary and proper quality check in export of different sea-foods.
Sector insiders fear that Bangladesh would face a huge loss due to the shipment suspension of various sea-foods to the key market Qatar. It was a great opportunity to export a large quantity of such foods there on the occasion of the FIFA World Cup.
In the fiscal year (FY) 2021-22, the country exported 1,700 tonnes of fishes and fish items to Qatar in 695 consignments. But, no contaminated substance was found in any consignment or no notice was issued about non-compliance, according to the MoFL.
Currently, the inspectors concerned inspect the fish processing factories according to the Fish and Fish Products (Inspection and Quality Control) Rules 1997 (amendments 2008, 2014 and 2017).
In exporting fish-related products, the authority concerned follows fisheries official protocol. Besides, necessary quality control and issuance of certificates are done according to the said rules.
When contacted, a senior official of the MoFL said, "We have requested the foreign and commerce ministries to take required steps in this connection to solve the crisis."
"We should identify the genuine reason behind Qatar's imposing ban on import through discussion with their officials concerned."
"Recently, an inter-ministerial meeting was held to solve the current problems, where we discussed the issue. The ministries and departments concerned are working in this connection," he mentioned.
"We are communicating with the government's authorities concerned in this regard, and we hope that Qatar will lift the ban on sea-food import soon," said officials of the Bangladesh Frozen Foods Exporters Association (BFFEA).
The country's export of frozen fish items to Qatar is increasing. Bangladesh exported different products worth US$ 42.3 million to Qatar in FY 2021-22, of which some $ 2.31 million came from the fisheries sector.