Panaji: The Goa government today banned the import of fish from outside the state till the end of this month, in view of the scare of formalin being found in it.
“Instructions would be issued at Goa’s borders not to allow fish-laden trucks from outside the state,” Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar told reporters here.
The ban will continue till the end of this month when restrictions imposed on fishing along the western coast end, Parrikar said. The government’s announcement of the ban comes a day before the state Assembly’s Monsoon Session begins. The opposition parties had decided to raise the issue on the floor of the House.
The Goa Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) had earlier confirmed the presence of the organic compound in fish imported from other states. However, the agency had later said the toxic chemical — used to preserve bodies and prevent its decay in mortuaries — was “on par” with its naturally-occurring levels in the sampled fishes and there was no added amount of it.
The chief minister said the ban, imposed under the Food and Drugs Administration Act, would eliminate all fears of the presence of formalin content in fish.
“For last many days, there is an issue on fish (of presence of formalin). Without going into details of those controversies or discussions, the government has come to a decision to stop the import of fish till the end of this month,” Parrikar said.
The ban on import of fish from other states will “automatically eliminate all controversies,” he said. Once the ban on fishing (imposed every year during monsoon) is lifted from August 1, local trawlers can go into the sea and catch fish and hence, there would be no need for fish to be imported from other states, he said.
“There will be enough local fish available to cater to the state’s demand,” he said.
When fresh fish is available, Goans will not opt for frozen fish or that is imported from other states, he said.
A formal order to ban the import of fish would be issued in the evening and border check posts would be asked not to allow any truck laden with fish to enter the state, he said. An action would be taken against those who violate the order, he warned.
“This is just an abundant caution in the interest of the health of citizens and to avoid controversies and confusion,” the chief minister said.
He said the government will not entertain complaints from traders that they were incurring losses due to the ban.
“It is not just fish but I have asked for checks of fruits and vegetables (also),” he said. If any preservatives were found in food items, they would also be banned, he added.