|Handling, Processing and Marketing of Fish in Bangladesh - Part 1 (NRI)|
|Section 4: The shrimp industry|
With shrimp caught by trawlers at sea there are virtually no handling or quality problems, given the speed with which it is processed and the high quality of supervision enforced by the Japanese buyers. This is not the case with farmed shrimp, where there are problems both prior to arrival at processing plants and during processing.
Pre-plant problems are by far the most serious. Ice is often insufficient and there is a general lack of hygiene. Shrimp is decapitated and sometimes peeled in agents' stores or peeling sheds before reaching the processing plants. These sheds are apparently not registered or under any form of control and, in most cases, conditions are quite inadequate: there is no fly screening, ice is rarely used, utensils and water are dirty, shrimp to be peeled is generally piled on a dirty floor and personal hygiene is non-existent.
For transportation, the shrimp is often packed under pressure, causing damage to the product. It is usually packed in bamboo baskets or in wooden boxes covered with jute cloths, all these materials being dirty and not capable of being thoroughly cleaned.
Deficiencies in the processing plants add to quality defects of incoming shrimp. Although processors have recognised the needs for high standards and have invested in high quality plants, standards of hygiene tend to be deficient. Cann (1985) quotes the following examples: incorrect dress of workers and non-use of protective clothing or headgear, lack of handwashing facilities and poor toilets, stacking of uniced shrimp directly on the factory floor and the use of child labour for shrimp
peeling as well as women (both sit bare-footed and dirty clothed amongst the products). Such practices stem from a 'genera! lack of knowledge among supervisory staff, there being few qualified people in these positions. There is clearly a need for training at this level.
Processing is sometimes hindered by external causes such as disruption of power supply and the shortage of imported supplies like bleaching powder and master carton bands.