Thursday, November 11, 2010

EU MEP Rails Against Imported Pangasius

According to a recent press release from conservative MEP Struan Stevenson, Pangasius or panga fish is being sold at rock-bottom prices under names including basa, grey sole and Vietnamese river cobbler by UK supermarkets, fishmongers and fish-and-chip shops.

In the past year alone, UK sales of frozen pangasius have rocketed by 50% to nearly 1,500 tonnes, while sales of traditional species like cod, salmon and trout have dropped.

In a keynote speech to a conference on aquaculture in the European Parliament, Mr. Stevenson reported that imports of the cheap fish are undercutting European fish farmers and allowing multinational firms to exploit virtual “slave labour” in Vietnam.

Imports now account for 60% of fish consumed within the EU, worth £25billion last year. Imported fish included 224,100 tonnes of pangasius from Vietnam.

Mr Stevenson was critical of pangasuis production in the region, stating that: "The Mekong River is one of the most heavily polluted rivers on Earth. Factories along its banks daily pump thousands of tonnes of contaminants into its slow-flowing waters.

"As a result, the water in which pangasius is being farmed is teeming with bacteria and poisoned with industrial effluents including arsenic, mercury and DDT."

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