India set to lose world’s 2nd largest fish producer spot? As catch dwindles, exports face tough times

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Kochi | January 6, 2017 6:05 AM

Seafood exports from the nation are passing through a tough phase due to dwindling catch from capture fisheries and tougher quality inspection in importing countries.

During financial year 2015-16, India exported 9,45,892 tonne of seafood worth Rs 30,420.83 crore ($4.7 billion) as against 10,51,243 tonne valued at Rs 33,441.61 crores ($5.5 billion) in FY 15.During financial year 2015-16, India exported 9,45,892 tonne of seafood worth Rs 30,420.83 crore ($4.7 billion) as against 10,51,243 tonne valued at Rs 33,441.61 crores ($5.5 billion) in FY 15.

Seafood exports from the nation are passing through a tough phase due to dwindling catch from capture fisheries and tougher quality inspection in importing countries. India is the second largest fish producer in the world after China and accounts for nearly 6 % of global fish production.

During financial year 2015-16, India exported 9,45,892 tonne of seafood worth Rs 30,420.83 crore ($4.7 billion) as against 10,51,243 tonne valued at Rs 33,441.61 crores ($5.5 billion) in FY 15. The decline in volume stands at 10%, rupee realisation at 9% and dollar realisation at 15%. Indian seafood exports to the European Union and South Africa have come under intense scrutiny in the recent past.

“The EU commission has passed a motion to increase the number of shipments of Indian aquaculture products stopped for checks at the borders to 50% from 10 % earlier. A vannamei shrimp export consignment to South Africa was rejected following the detection of Vibrio cholera in the shipment. The issue has not been sorted so far and the delay is affecting exports,” Anwar Hashim, managing director of Abad Fisheries and former president of the Seafood Exporters Association of India, told FE.

The EU has been tightening its import regulations by boosting its environmental and health standards. The EU is the third-largest destination for Indian seafood with a share of 20% of the total volume of exports. India and other countries have had to attach catch certificates to all their seafood shipments from 2010 to help reduce illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

Hashim added that a drastic reduction in catch from capture fisheries is also adding to the concern.

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India’s fish catch during 2015 has declined by 5.3% year-on-year, largely due to a sharp decline in the landing of oil sardines in the southwest coast of the country, officials of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute reported.

Higher sea surface temperature, lack of food in the sea near the coast and over-exploitation of the sardine population is said to be the reason for the decline in sardine landing, sources added. Landing of oil sardines recorded a sharp decline of 51 % during 2015 leading to a decline in total landing to 3.4 million tonne against 3.59 million tonne in 2014. India stands seventh with regard to marine capture fish production in the world; the

sector supports 4 million fishermen.

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