Oman bans import of fish from Estonia ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Estonian smelt fish.
Estonian smelt fish. Source: (Mailiis Ollino/Scanpix)

Oman's Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has imposed an import ban on Estonian fish. No official reason for the decision has been given, it is reported.

Omani newspaper the Muscat Daily, reporting on the ban, has written that the decision was based on the law of veterinary quarantine in the country.

"The decision stated that the import of fish and fish products from Estonia are to be forbidden, unless thermally treated, until future notice," the paper reported, without elaborating.

Fish and fish products from Peru are also subject to the same injunction, according to the newspaper.

Elen Kurvits, spokesperson for the Veterinary and Food Board (VTA), said that Oman has not officially notified Estonian authorities of the ban and hence the reasons for it were not known. Spokespersons at the Estonian Ministry of Rural Affairs have also said that clarifying information has not reached them yet either.

Ms. Kurvits added that only thermally treated fish products, which according to the Muscat Daily should not be included in the ban, have been exported from Estonia to Oman so far, with the last batches being shipped several years ago.

Ban not materially significant

The ban is not seen to have significant implications for Estonian fish exporters. Estonia's primary export partners are the neighbouring and/or EU nations of Finland, Sweden, Latvia, Russia, Germany, Lithuania, which in 2017 together made up just short of 60% of total Estonian export recipients according to the CIA World Factbook.

According to a USDA Foreign Agricultural Service report from 2015, the the total fish catch in Estonia in 2014 stood at 67,964 metric tonnes, with the majority of Estonian supplies of fish originating from the Baltic Sea catch. Offshore and inland water catches were also included in this statistic.

It added that there were 83 fish processing plants producing for both domestic and export markets. Edible fish found in the waters off Estonia include Atlantic herring and Atlantic salmon.

The Sultanate of Oman is a majority Muslim Arab nation on the southeastern coast of the Arabian peninsular and lies at the mouth of the Persian Gulf. It is an absolute monarchy  with the present Sultan, Qaboos bin Said al Said, having been leader of the country since 1970. Homosexuality is outlawed there, and torture of political dissidents has been widely reported, amongst other human rights abuses.

Estonian technology company Nortal signed a contract with Oman in January 2017 for an eGovernance-related project to develop a system for work licensing and permits in the country.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: BNS

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