Seafood exports during the first 10 months of the last fiscal registered a year-on-year growth of 13.7% in volume and 10.1% in value largely due to higher exports of frozen shrimps, state-run Marine Products Exports Development Authority (Mpeda) said on Thursday. India is the second-largest fish producer in the world after China and accounts for nearly 6% of global fish production. India exported 10,85,378 tonne of seafood valued at Rs 35,916.60 crore during the first ten months of the FY 2017-18 as against 9,54,744 tonne worth Rs 32,620.03 crore a year ago. In dollar terms, exports were pegged at US $ 5.64 billion during April 2017-January 2018 as compared to $ 4.98 billion dollars during the same period in the previous fiscal, registering a 13.27% growth.
US, South East Asia and the European Union (EU) continued to be the three major importers while the demand from Japan saw substantial increase during the period. Frozen shrimp continued as the top export item of marine products basket, with a share of 42.05% in volume and 69.95% of the total earnings in dollar. The overall exports of shrimp, which was to the tune of 4,56,404 tonne as against 3,78,355 tonne in the previous fiscal valued at US $3,946.30 million, grew by 20.63% in volume and 21.61% in dollar terms.
“India’s exports of seafood remained on the upward curve despite a fall in global shrimp prices triggered by oversupply from the major shrimp-producing countries and more stringent test regimes imposed by the EU to detect antibiotic residues in frozen shrimp consignments. Also, we had to face competition from countries like Ecuador and Argentina,” said Mpeda chairman A Jayathilak. “Still, we were able to sustain the growth momentum on export front, which is a proof of the resilience of India’s seafood sector. We have initiated steps for export-oriented organic shrimp production, and launched new strategies to boost aquaculture and improve vigilance to stop faulty consignments,” he stated.
Export of frozen fish stood at 279,642 tonne as against 250,465 tonne a year earlier, showing a growth of 11.65% in quantity and 3.93% in terms of dollar but frozen squid declined by 12.83%, 18.35% and 14.98%, respectively in terms of quantity, rupee value and dollar earnings. However, exports of dried seafood items registered an uptick with figures of 80.63% and 15.81% in terms of quantity and rupee value, respectively.