Press TV – China has banned imports of shrimp from Saudi Arabia and granted market access to 40 exporters from Iran, a report says.
The ban came after Chinese customs detected white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) in a shipment of shrimp, China’s industry publication Foodspath said.
Citing an industry source, it said Chinese customs had implemented the ban “to prevent the disease from entering China”.
The ban was followed by market access being granted to Iranian shrimp exporters, including Daryazad Seafood Products which is headquartered in Bushehr province, producing raw processed and value-added shrimp products.
China is the largest market for Iran which exports some 30,000 tonnes of shrimp a year, London-based global seafood news website Undercurrent News reported.
Iranian veterinary authorities said China endorsed the exporters after they met Chinese laws, regulations and standards, paving the way for direct shipments.
In the absence of official export approval, Iran’s exporters relied on sending shrimp to China through Vietnam.
Exporting through Vietnam, however, has become more challenging due to a crackdown in transshipment by Chinese authorities.
Iran’s Minister of agriculture Mahmoud Hojjati said in June shrimp production in the country had quadrupled to 50,000 tonnes over the past five years.
Iran seeks to use aquaculture potentials along its southern coasts to make seafood a main item of export. It exported some 22,000 tonnes of shrimps worth around $150 million in the last Persian year which ended in March, government officials showed.
The country has set a target to raise production to 60,000 tonnes by 2021. Several foreign countries, including France, are involved in joint projects to boost seafood production. A senior Iranian official once said China planned to invest $3 billion in Iran’s fisheries.
The program gives a special place to production of caviar, a prized delicacy that can fetch more than $100 an ounce.
Iran is traditionally known as the origin of premium caviar, long reserved for royal courts and the gentry. Each kilo of farmed caviar, often referred as the “black gold”, sells for $1,500-$1,600 in the market.
The number of sturgeon aquafarms has been rising amid a ban on sturgeon fishing in the Caspian Sea where the world’s best caviar-bearing fish thrive.
China is an ideal destination for Iranian caviar, where the number of high net worth individuals has risen nearly nine times since a decade ago.