US emerges as biggest importer by value of Indian seafood

11 Jan 2014


India's seafood exports, now worth around Rs400 crore a year, are expected to cross the Rs1,000-crore mark by 2020, union commerce and industries minister Anand Sharma said in Chennai on Friday.

Sharma, inaugurating the India International Seafood Show 2014 – its 19th edition - said that by next year the export of seafood would touch Rs500 crore, and would double by 2020.

Meanwhile America has overtaken Southeast Asia as the biggest importer of Indian seafood despite the hurdles raised by US policies like fluctuations in countervailing duties and stringent quality parameters, Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) chairperson Leena Nair told newspersons ahead of the festival.

But while the US has become the largest market in value terms, Southeast Asia is the largest market in terms of quantity, with the figure at 38.33 per cent against 13.39 per cent for the US, Nair said.

She added that despite hiccups in the US market, India could export substantially to that market.

''We have had to face some issues, including anti-dumping duties in the US, but we could get favourable orders from US commerce and trade departments, which boosted our exports.

''This, along with stringent and to some extent impractical quality regulations from major importing countries, was overcome due to adept handling of hurdles by MPEDA, the ministry of commerce and the Seafood Exporters Association of India,'' Nair said. 

She said over the last three years, the Indian seafood industry has grown by 20-22 per cent year-on-year.

Nair said India has been seeking a negotiated agreement on quality standards for seafood exports to many countries, including the US, Canada and Japan.

"Canada has been putting up stringent norms and the country wants negotiated terms, and talks are on. However, the Japanese have slightly altered their norms relating to the presence of ethoxyquin in imported shrimps, which can be met by Indian exporters,'' she said.

Canada is one of the major markets for Indian seafood exports.

A J Tharakan, chairman of Seafood Exporters Association of India, said that the good export performance by the seafood sector has been entirely due to the record aquaculture production of vannamei shrimp species in Andhra Pradesh.

Tamil Nadu Fisheries Minister K A Jayapal said that the state has introduced a scheme to tap its deep sea fishery wealth by providing 50 per cent subsidy (up to Rs30 lakh) to fishermen for constructing deep sea fishing boats and adopting sustainable fishing methods such as tuna long line and gill netting.

He further said the tenders for the first phase of fish processing parks at Nagapattinam and Cuddalore on a public-private partnership basis will be announced shortly.

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