PANAJI/MARGAO: Although the Margao Wholesale Fish Market Association president Ibrahim Maulana has said the fish caught by fishermen from bordering coastal villages of Maharashtra and Karnataka will be imported into Goa from Thursday, the government on Wednesday clarified that it will take a call on December 10 over allowing the fish caught by these smalltime fishermen.
Speaking to ‘The Navhind Times’ on Thursday evening, Health Minister Vishwajit Rane said the government has been steadfast on its ban on fish imports and will not relent till fish traders comply with guidelines issued by the food and drugs administration.
Maulana has said the fish from the bordering coastal villages of Maharashtra and Karnataka will be imported into Goa, claiming that the state government has agreed to allow the fish imports from the two states through insulated vehicles.
However, Rane categorically said that so far no fish trader has approached the FDA for permission to import fish. “The government has been very clear that the fish-laden vehicles entering Goa complying with the FDA guidelines will be allowed. But, so far no trader has approached the FDA for permission,” Rane explained.
Maintaining that the government has not yet given relaxation vis-à-vis the fish import ban to anybody, Rane said, “I have called a high-level meeting on December 10 at the secretariat to take a decision on giving relief to smalltime fishermen from areas like Shiroda in Maharashtra and Karwar in Karnataka.”
The meeting will be attended by the Chief Secretary, the health secretary, the Director General of Police, the director of food and drugs administration, and police inspectors of border police stations in both North and South Goa districts.
Speaking to ‘The Navhind Times’ in Margao, Maulana said, “I can certainly tell you that all the fish that will start coming to the Margao wholesale fish market from Thursday will be safe for human consumption.”
He welcomed FDA officials to check the fish that will come from Maharashtra and Karnataka from Thursday, as the fish traders association does not have any problem about fish checking.
On Maulana’s optimism for the resumption of fish imports from Thursday, Rane said that he has already spoken to the DGP and police inspectors of border police stations asking them to strictly check the vehicles coming from outside Goa.