Strengthening its position as a leading supplier of quality frozen shrimp and frozen fish in international markets, India exported 10,85,378 metric tonne (MT) of seafood valued at Rs 35,916.60 crore in the first ten months of financial year (FY) 2017-18 as against 9,54,744MT and Rs 32,620.03 crore, respectively, a year earlier, registering a growth of 13.68 per cent in quantity and 10.11 per cent in value.

In dollar terms, exports were pegged at $5.64 billion between April 2017 and January 2018 as compared to $4.98 billion during the same period in the previous fiscal, marking a 13.27 per cent growth.

The United States, South-east Asia and the European Union (EU) continued to be the three major importers, while the demand from Japan registered substantial increase during the period.

Frozen shrimp continued to be the top export item in the marine products basket, with a share of 42.05 per cent in quantity and 69.95 per cent of the total earnings in dollars.

The overall exports of shrimp, which was to the tune of 4,56,404MT (as against 3,78,355MT in the previous fiscal) valued at $3,946.30 million, grew by 20.63 per cent in quantity and 21.61 per cent in dollar terms.

The largest markets for India’s frozen shrimp were the United States (1,87,873MT), South-east Asia (1,27,525MT), the EU (62,164MT), Japan (28,064MT), the Middle-East (15,801MT) and China (9,533MT).

In particular, the export of Vannamei shrimp improved from 2,89,826MT to 3,32,415MT between April 2017 and January 2018 with a growth of 14.69 per cent in quantity. Japan emerged as the major market for Black Tiger shrimp, with a share of 49.38 per cent in dollar, followed by the United States (18.09 per cent) and South-east Asia (15.06 per cent).

“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 A Jayathilak, chairman, Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA).

“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 noted.

Export of frozen fish stood at 2,79,642MT as against 2,50,465MT a year earlier, showing a growth of 11.65 per cent in quantity and 3.93 per cent in terms of dollar, but frozen squid declined by 12.83 per cent, 18.35 per cent and 14.98 per cent, respectively, in terms of quantity, rupee value and dollar earnings.

However, exports of dried seafood items registered an uptick with figures of 80.63 per cent and 15.81 per cent in terms of quantity and rupee value, respectively.

The United States, which imported 2,03,837MT of Indian seafood worth $1,917.38 million in the current financial year, remained the major importer with a share of 33.99 per cent in dollar terms, while exports to that country registered a growth of 26.53 per cent, 23.84 per cent and 29.13 per cent in terms of quantity, rupees and dollars, respectively. Frozen shrimp continued to be the principal item exported to the United States with a share of 95.32 per cent in dollar terms.

South-East Asia, the second largest market destination for Indian marine products, accounted for 32.30 per cent in dollar value, while overall exports to the region increased by 23.84 per cent in quantity and 16.25 per cent in rupee value. It was followed by the EU (14.70 per cent), Japan (6.59 per cent), the Middle-East (3.78 per cent), and China (2.97 per cent), respectively.

In the South-East Asian markets, Vietnam imported 3,46,513MT of Indian seafood, which is much more than that of any other individual markets like the United States, Japan or China. Vietnam’s share was 80.55 per cent in dollar terms, followed by Thailand (10.93 per cent), Taiwan (2.99 per cent), Malaysia (2.43 per cent), Singapore (1.63 per cent) and South Korea (1.30 per cent).

Frozen shrimp continued to be the major item of exports to the EU, accounting for 44.62 per cent in quantity and 58.32 per cent in dollar terms. However, export of frozen shrimp to the region decreased by 6.98 per cent, 7.17 per cent and 3.26 per cent in quantity, rupee and dollar value, respectively.

Imports by Japan, the fourth largest destination for Indian seafood, increased by 17.51 per cent in quantity, 1.44 per cent in rupee value and 6.7 per cent in dollar terms. Frozen shrimp continued to be the major item of exports to Japan, accounting for a share of 40.28 per cent in quantity and 76.24 per cent in dollar earnings.

The exports to the Chinese market showed a decline of 17.11  per cent, 9.9 per cent and 6.04 per cent in terms of quantity, rupee value and dollar, respectively, but exports of frozen Vannamei shrimp to that country increased in terms of quantity and rupee value. Exports to the Middle-East and other countries showed a positive growth in quantity and value as compared to the previous year.

Indian ports handled a total marine cargo of 10,85,378 tonne worth Rs 35,916.60 crore ($5,641.28 million) as compared to 9,54,744 tonne worth Rs 32,620 crore ($4,980 million) in the corresponding period of the previous fiscal.

Pipavav, which handled marine cargo of 2,47,873 tonne worth Rs 4,031.24 crore, was the leading port in terms of quantity, while Vizag’s handling of 1,69,602 tonne earned Rs 9,755.42 crore, the maximum for a port in value terms. Exports improved from the ports of Vizag, Pipavav, Jawaharlal Nehru Port, Krishnapatanam, Tuticorin, Chennai and Mangalore, as compared to same period last year.