India's exportsIndia’s seafood exports by region/country. Photo: MPEDA

India has seen a drop and subsequent recovery in its seafood exports with a stronger aquaculture market.

The COVID-19 pandemic and “sluggish” overseas market have negatively impacted India’s exports said the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA). The country exported 11,49,341 MT of marine products worth US$5.96bn during FY 2020-21, a contraction of 10.88% in volume as compared to a year earlier. In 2019-20, India exported 12,89,651 MT of seafood worth US$6.68bn.,

“The pandemic drastically affected seafood exports during the first half of the year, but it revived well in the last quarter of 2020-21,” said K S Srinivas, chairman of the MPEDA. “Also, the aquaculture sector performed better during this fiscal by contributing 67.99 per cent of exported items in dollar terms and 46.45 per cent in quantity, which is 4.41 per cent and 2.48 per cent higher, respectively when compared to 2019-20.”

Frozen shrimp is top export

Frozen shrimp has retained its position as India’s major export item followed by frozen fish. Frozen shrimp contributed 51.36% in quantity and 74.31% of the total dollar earnings. USA remained its largest importer (2,72,041 MT), followed by China (1,01,846 MT), EU (70,133 MT), Japan (40,502 MT), South East Asia (38,389 MT), and the Middle East (29,108 MT).

However, shrimp exports declined by 9.47% in dollar value and 9.50% in quantity.

Frozen fish, with a share of 16.37% in quantity and 6.75% in dollar earnings, retained the second position in exports basket though its shipments plummeted by 15.76% in quantity and 21.67%hr in dollar terms.

Capture fisheries contribution reduced from 56.03% to 53.55% in quantity and from 36.42% to 32.01% in dollar value. However, tilapia and ornamental fish performed well with 55.83% and 66.55% increase in quantity and an uptick of 38.07% and 14.63% in dollar earnings, respectively. Tuna showed a 14.6% increase in quantity, but its dollar earnings are down 7.39%. Crab and scampi exports reduced both in quantity and value.

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