Seafood exports from the country hit an all-time high last fiscal with the total revenue touching $5.78 billion by exporting 11,34,948 tonnes of seafood products largely due to a robust demand for frozen shrimp and fish. In 2015-16, Indian seafood exports stood at 9,45,892 tonnes worth $ 4.69 billion. US and South East Asia continue to be the major importers while the demand from the European Union (EU) grew substantially during the period, officials of the state-run Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) said. India is the second largest fish producer in the world after China and accounts for nearly 6% of global fish production. Nirmala Sitharaman, union minister for commerce and industry said ,“Increased production of L Vannamei, diversification of aquaculture species, sustained measures to ensure quality, and increase in infrastructure facilities for production of value added products were largely responsible for India’s positive growth in exports of seafood”. Frozen shrimp maintained its position as the top item of export, accounting for 38.28 % in volume and 64.50% of the total earnings in dollar terms. Shrimp exports increased by 16.21% in terms of volume and 20.33% in dollar terms. Frozen fish was the second largest export item, accounting for a share of 26.15 % in volume and 11.64% in dollar earnings, registering a growth of 26.92% in terms of value.
US imported 1,88,617 tonnes of Indian seafood, accounting for 29.98% in terms of dollar. Export to that country registered a growth of 22.72%, 33% and 29.82% in terms of volume, value in rupee and US dollars, respectively. South East Asia remained the second largest destination of India’s marine products, with a share of 29.91% in dollar terms, followed by the EU with 17.98%, Japan with 6.83%, the Middle East with 4.78 %, China with 3.50% and other countries 7.03%. Overall, exports to South East Asia increased by 47.41% in quantity, 52.84% in rupee value and 49.90% in dollar earnings. The overall export of shrimp during 2016-17 was pegged at 4,34,484 tonnes worth $3,726.36 million. US was the largest import market for frozen shrimp with 1,65,827 tonnes, followed by the EU with 77,178 tonnes and South East Asia with 1,05,763 tonnes.
The export of Vannamei shrimp, a major seafood delicacy, improved from 2,56,699 tonnes to 3,29,766 tonnes in 2016-17, registering a growth of 28.46% in volume. In value terms, 49.55% of total Vannamei shrimp was exported to USA, followed by 23.28% to South East Asian countries, MPEDA sources added. Japan was the major market for Black Tiger shrimp with a share of 43.84% in terms of value, followed by US with 23.44%.