European Union (EU) rejections on Indian seafood exports have gone down consistently in last five years. What is significant is that the rejection rate has refused to slip from its low plateau, despite EU raising its rejection benchmarks by as much as five times. “After the recent revision in EU’s export quality bar, the rejections of seafood exports could have been as high as 50%, compared to the earlier standards that had effected 10% rejections.
“However, Indian seafood industry proved its mettle and managed to withstand the new restrictions, by maintaining a low rejection rate,” says A Jayathilak, chairman, MPEDA ( Marine Products Export Development Authority).
The seafood export rejection rate has remained an average of five per year. MPEDA officials have been in talks with the EU Directorate in Brussels, planning to further tighten the quality norms in seafood exports in India. More rigorous standards are likely to be set on measures like pre-harvest testing in aquafarms.
“The industry of fishing from the sea is shrinking. “World-over the ratio of marine fisheries to aquaculture farming have shifted to 50:50, which could have effected the thrust on quality norms”, says John Alexander Benzie of Malaysia-based World Fish Centre, Malaysia, after presenting a paper at Aqua Aquaria India (AAI-2017), the largest aqua-farming and ornamental fish breeding show in Asia.
In India, the ratio of marine fisheries to aquaculture farming is already much lower than the international ratio on this. One reason was the dramatic difference brought by the entry of Litopeneaus vannamei ( Pacific White Shrimp) in the country’s commercial farming scene. Within three years of its entry, the farm-grown vannamei has emerged to constitute as much as 53% of seafood exports in value terms. To keep this high-valued export stream intact, MPEDA had to pull up its socks and invest a tight vigil on minimising negative factors like pesticide residue.