Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy has requested his Goa counterpart Manohar Parrikar to lift the blanket ban on fish import, claiming that the crackdown has caused “huge losses” to the fishermen from the southern state.
In a letter, Kumaraswamy said: “I request you to kindly permit transportation and trading activities of fish between the two states and the ban order issued by the state of Goa may be kept on hold till we comply with FDA regulation.
“It is requested that this blanket ban may be withdrawn… Karnataka will ensure that the fish traders comply with the FDA regulations and obtain a certificate after meeting the required standards.”
The letter, which was received by Parrikar’s office on Thursday, also said fisherfolk from three coastal districts in Karnataka — Uttara Kannada, Dakshina Kannada, Udupi — who harvest a catch of nearly 4.10 lakh tonne every year, were now facing huge losses on account of the ban.
“The fishermen have been taken by surprise by the sudden ban on fish trade to the state of Goa. This has resulted in huge losses by the coastal fishermen and lot of unrest among the fishermen community.”
The controversy involving use of formalin in fish erupted in July after a Food and Drugs Administration team found traces of the carcinogenic cadaver preservative in fish sold in Goa.
The BJP-led coalition government has been on the back-foot ever since, after several of its ministers were accused of allegedly protecting fish traders who were reportedly importing formalin-laced fish consignments into Goa from Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
Under public pressure to crackdown on the “fish mafia”, Goa on November 12 banned the import of fish from traders who were unregistered with the state’s FDA.
The ban has also hiked prices of fish in Goa.