The ban, which was reported in the Millennium Post August 8, comes after India’s top drug regulator called on states and union territories to restrict the availability and use of regulated veterinary antibiotics in the aquaculture sector. The ban focuses on India’s shrimp industry, where concerns about antibiotic residues and the potential for the development of antimicrobial resistant bacteria have long been documented.
The Department of Fisheries has formed District Task Force Committees (TFCs) with eight members to tackle the problem. They are headed by district magistrates from the affected areas. The decision to ban the antibiotics came after the chairman of the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) wrote to the secretary of the Ministry of Health, asking that the agency take ‘effective measures’ to restrict availability and use of antibiotics restricted in all countries. food-producing animals – including shrimp and other finfish.
The TFCs will carry out frequent raids or random checks on stores, manufacturing units and suppliers of drugs, probiotics, chemical feeds and other agricultural products and take action against any unauthorized possession of antibiotics.
“The TFC should ensure that aquatic shops do not sell veterinary grade products and encourage only aquatic grade drugs registered with the CAA (Coastal Aquaculture Authority). The use of prohibited aquatic products will result in huge penalties or cancellation of the license for the affected aquatic shop.” a senior ministry official told the Millennium Post.
According to state fisheries department sources, shrimp importing countries have become stricter on Indian aquaculture practices. The EU has increased spot testing for antibiotic residues in Indian shrimp exports and US regulators have rejected some Indian shrimp shipments after detecting antibiotic molecules.