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Kerala - Kochi Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Fish quarantine units mooted

By K. S. Sudhi

KOCHI, NOV. 18. The National Committee for Exotic Species has suggested setting up of quarantine facilities for the import of fish near the Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata airports.

The Committee has suggested that importers should set up the facilities at their own expense near these airports. The Committee, or a nodal agency appointed by it, should monitor the running of the facility, it has been suggested.

The introduction of exotic organisms is strictly monitored in almost all foreign countries, considering the threat to the local biodiversity and endemic organisms.

In India, quarantine facilities are now available only for animals and plants at major airports and seaports.

Guidelines prepared

As a follow-up of this recommendation, two national fisheries research organisations - the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) and the National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources, Lucknow, (NBFGR), have jointly prepared guidelines for exhibiting fish varieties from foreign countries at the international aqua show that began herei on Wednesday.

"The guidelines are being introduced to check the possibility of introduction of unwanted and exotic species to Indian waters and spread of unknown viruses," said Mohan Joseph Modayil, director, CMFRI.

Introduction of unwanted species can lead to competition among species in the country and lead to the destruction of endemic varieties, he said.

The Central Government had cleared the import of foreign species after the guidelines were put in place, he added.

According to the guidelines, foreign participants were permitted to bring only live marine and freshwater ornamental species after obtaining pre-quarantine and health certificates from the respective Governments.

Exhibitors from Maldives, Dubai and Sri Lanka are participating in the Kochi exhibition.

During the last exhibition, a few foreign countries brought several fish varieties without quarantining them, which had led to severe criticism from scientists.

The consignments were taken back before the completion of the exhibition as the NBFGR launched an investigation into the absence of quarantine certificates for the species.

This time, the research organisations have suggested that the fish brought for the exhibition be kept in the custody of participants while transporting and exhibiting in the aquarium stall. The water used in the aquarium tanks should not be released to any natural water body without proper treatment as stipulated by CMFRI and NBFGR, it was directed.

The death of any fish species should be reported to the scientists concerned at CMFRI and NBFGR Cochin unit and disposed as per directions of the institutions.

The sale or handing over of any fish brought from foreign countries to any person or organisation was also banned.

On completion of the exhibition, the exhibitors should either take back the fish species or destroy or hand them over to research institutions for carrying out pathogen tests and research.

The research organisations have also suggested that each consignment should be accompanied by pre-quarantine and health certificates from competent authority of concerned Governments.

The research institutions have also deputed some of their scientists for overseeing the observance of the guidelines.

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