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Pakistani Seafood: US Extends Sustainable Exports


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In a monumental development for Pakistan’s seafood industry, the nation has successfully secured a two-year extension until December 31, 2025, to continue the commercial export of fish and fish products to the United States. The US administration’s decision exempts Pakistan from adhering to the standards outlined in the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) of 2016, marking a significant milestone for Pakistan’s fishing sector and positioning the country as a responsible player in the international seafood industry.

Pakistan now joins a select group of only 130 countries that have been granted this special exemption. The extension, as notified in a Federal Register Notice, signifies a commendable achievement for the nation’s commitment to aligning its fishing practices with the highest international standards.

The MMPA, which typically prohibits the import of commercially fished products that may harm marine mammals, provided a five-year grace period to foreign countries. This period allowed nations sufficient time to establish regulatory measures addressing marine mammal bycatch in a manner comparable to US standards. Originally scheduled to end on December 31, of this year, the exemption has now been extended, offering additional time for countries to harmonize their fishing practices with environmental standards.

The evaluation of each nation’s regulatory programs, entrusted to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), acknowledges the complexity of assessing the incidental and intentional mortality and serious injury of marine mammals in fisheries exporting to the USA. Recognizing this complexity, the Department of Commerce and NMFS have determined that extra time is necessary to ensure fair and consistent comparability determinations across harvesting nations.

Securing this extension goes beyond a prolonged trade agreement; it stands as a testament to Pakistan’s unwavering commitment to aligning its fishing practices with the highest international standards. It showcases the nation’s dedication to upholding the objectives of the MMPA while adeptly navigating the practical challenges associated with evaluating regulatory programs in foreign countries.

This achievement not only reinforces Pakistan’s leadership in sustainable marine resource management but also sets a powerful precedent on the global stage. It encourages other nations to follow suit and underscores Pakistan’s position as a responsible and forward-thinking player in the international seafood industry.

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