India Seafood Industry Declines


Linda Salim, for SeafoodSource from Surabaya, Indonesia

Published on
November 11, 2008

Just last month, India's Marine Product Export Development Authority (MPEDA) announced an increase of the country's seafood exports from April to June, which made up the first quarter of its fiscal year that runs from April 1 to March 31. The 6 percent increase in volume and 8.6 percent in value was attributed to the rise of frozen squid and mackerel exports.

However, Anwar Hashim, president of the Seafood Exporters Association of India, recently reported that the usual year-end hike in seafood demand hasn't happened. Hashim forecasted an export decline of 20 percent in value and up to 25 percent in volume for the current fiscal year ending March 31, 2009.

Demand has been so slow that many purchasers in India's major trading partners have tried to bargain after shipments are received. Regular importers who have already locked in price contracts are also requesting price reductions.

G. Mohan Kumar, MPEDA chairman, Kumar said that many shrimp farmers have decided to exit the industry next year.

Increased production costs have also contributed to the decline in fishermen and processors' income.

The Indian seafood industry reached its peak when it surpassed $2 billion mark in the fiscal year 2006 to 2007. On the fiscal year ending March 31, exports had dropped 11.5 percent in volume and close to 9 percent value.

Hashim has called for government assistance for the survival of the seafood industry. Other efforts to resuscitate the industry include promoting organic scampi farming and opening the aquaculture industry up for vannamei breeding.

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