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India's Seafood Exports on the Up

19 February 2014

INDIA - The rising trend of aquaculture has been significantly contributing to seafood export. Emerging technology, such as the pathogen-free shrimp species Litopenaeus vannamei, is also playing a major role in seafood exports, according to A. Ansar Ali, Deputy Director of the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), Tuticorin.

With an export target of $4.3 billion for 2013-14, the seafood exports made through V.O. Chidambaranar Port here witnessed an increasing trend in the first half of this fiscal.

The export volume increased by 28 per cent in terms of quantity and 64 per cent in value over the corresponding period last year, Dr. Ali told The Hindu.

Around 4,000 tonnes of seafood shipments had been increased. Since September 2013, frozen shrimps (vannamei shrimp) had become the principal export item in marine products. With an increased catch of vannamei shrimp, quality control measures and development of infrastructure for production of value-added items, the MPEDA could reach the target, he hoped.

He said the increased stock density of vannamei shrimp in farms, resulted in a substantial boost in production. Moreover, the high value shrimp could also be cultured in a short period. Hence, farmers had preferred culturing vannamei shrimp to black tiger shrimp, the earlier export variety, Dr Ali added.

D. Durairaj, president, Tamil Nadu Seafood Exporters Association, Tamil Nadu region, when contacted, said on fisheries production, exporters had been largely banking on aquaculture, which contributes 70 per cent and the rest by capture fisheries.

In Tamil Nadu, this shore based aquaculture activity was being primarily witnessed in Pattukottai, Nagapttinam, Sirkali and also partially in Tuticorin and Ramanathapuram. But the farmers had benefitted more than exporters, who earn a marginal profit and incur an expenditure of Rs.125 on exporting every kilo of shrimps. Besides, duty drawback rates for the exporters had also been slashed to 3.3 per cent against five per cent, which existed two years ago, Mr. Durairaj said.

With 20 exporting companies across Tamil Nadu, the seafood industry began to focus on vannamei shrimp production, he said.

C.B.T. Rajagopalsamy, Professor and Head, Department of Inland Aquaculture, Fisheries College and Research Institute, Tuticorin, said this species could attain marketable size of 20 grams within a period of 130 to 160 days.

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