India has emerged as one of the top exporters of seafood globally. India’s seafood exports registered strong growth during 2016-17 and touched an all-time high at 11,34,948 MT worth US$ 5.78 billion (Rs 37,870.90 crore) as against 9,45,892 MT and US$ 4.69 billion a year earlier. India’s top four exports markets for seafood are USA, South East Asia, European Union and Japan.
Factors like increased production of certain varieties of shrimp, diversification of aquaculture species, sustained measures to ensure quality, and increase in infrastructure facilities for production of value added products were responsible for India’s positive growth in exports of seafood.
USA remained the largest market for Indian seafood exports with 1,88,617 MT in 2016-17, accounting for 29.98 per cent in dollar terms registering a growth of 29.82 per cent. Similarly, South East Asia remained the second largest destination of India’s marine products, with a share of 29.91 per cent in dollar terms, followed by the EU (17.98 per cent), Japan (6.83 per cent), the Middle East (4.78 per cent), China (3.50 per cent) and other countries (7.03 per cent). Overall, exports to South East Asia registered a strong growth of 49.90 per cent in dollar earnings.
In terms of products, frozen shrimp maintained its position as the top item of export, accounting for 64.50 per cent in value terms. Shrimp exports increased by 20.33 per cent in dollar terms. Frozen Fish was the second largest export item registering a growth of 26.92 per cent in terms of value.
It is important to note here that India has been able to achieve the feat of becoming the leading exporter of shrimps in a short span of time. Indian seafood exports are likely to grow over 20 per cent in 2017-18. In fact, there is a need to focus on developing other aquatic species in order to diversify India’s dependence on shrimps in terms of seafood exports.