Powerful cyclone hits shrimp farms in India’s West Bengal, Odisha

Published on
June 1, 2021

A severe cyclone made landfall in India’s eastern region last week, causing massive damage to shrimp farms in the affected areas in in West Bengal and Odisha states.

The cyclone, Yaas, wreaked havoc and caused damages to the agriculture sector in West Bengal. The aquaculture industry’s losses in the state were estimated at INR 10 billion (USD 137.9 million, EUR 113.1 million), according to The Times of India.

Exports of aquaculture products from West Bengal are worth about INR 80 billion (USD 1.1 billion, EUR 904.6 million) per year, which accounts for 15 to 20 percent of India’s total aquaculture export value, the newspaper reported.

Seafood Exporters Association of India West Bengal President Rajarshi Banerji said shrimp farms across the state were severely affected by the storm.

“Seeding was complete up to 80 to 90 percent. Most of the shrimp crop had grown and was ready for harvest; 25 to 30 percent of that matured crop has been lost. Value of only crop loss in Midnapur is reliably estimated at around INR 9 billion to INR 10 billion (USD 124.1million to USD 137.9 million, EUR 101.8 million to EUR 113.1 million),” Banerji said. “West Bengal was expecting its all-time highest prawn crop of 100,000 metric tons (MT) this year. That prospect is damaged severely.”

According to Banerji, the farms, which were flooded during the cyclone, would not be able to be used for growing shrimp until the end of this year.

Another official from the association, citing preliminary reports from the ground, said Yaas caused “huge financial losses” for the shrimp farmers, with about 3,000 hectares of shrimp farms in the coastal areas of the two states being flooded during the storm.

In the middle of May, Gujarat state was also hit by a separate storm, Cyclone Tauktae, which was seen as one of the strongest cyclones to hit the area in more than two decades. Naeem Banglawala, a shrimp farmer operating organic shrimp farms on 100 hectares in Gujarat state and director of a company supplying raw material to processors and exporters, confirmed to SeafoodSource on 20 May that the Tauktae did hit his own ponds and others along the coastal areas of Gujarat heavily.

Photo courtesy of Rudra Narayan Mitra/Shutterstock

Reporting from Hanoi, Vietnam

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