Indian seafood exports touched Rs 16,500 crore in 2011-12 with Southeast Asia toppling Europe as the largest buyer of Indian marine products, according to an ET report. A shortage in Southeast Asian countries due to natural calamities has led to higher purchases from India while Europe's economic turmoil has crimped deman, noted the report.
According to provisional figures provided by Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), seafood exports recorded a 27 percent rise in rupee terms. However, the increase in quantity was limited to five percent at 8.5 lakh tonne. In dollar terms, shipments touched around $3.3 billion, up from $ 2.85 billion in the previous year, the report said.
According to MPEDA sources, a shortage in production across Southeast Asia and natural calamities such as flooding in Thailand led to increased buying from India. Demand was particularly high for the Vannamei shrimp, the report pointed out.
Anwar Hashim, Managing Director of Abad Fisheries said: 'As a result of the economic worries in Europe, importers were not able to pay a higher price for our products. And the euro was weak. Countries like Vietnam imported a lot of marine products for re-export to other countries'. The Vannamei production increased from 12,000 tonne to 40,000 tonne because of the demand. The shrimp fetched $ 8-12 a kg in the overseas markets. The Black Tiger shrimp too was in demand. 'Exporters are focusing on Vannamei. It is easier to culture this shrimp and it provides better yield and price,' Nobert Karikkaseri, the Kerala president of Seafood Exporters Association of India opined.
MPEDA was expecting the export turnover to touch $ 4 billion for the year. But lower buying from China led to a dip in exports. While purchases from China are down by nearly 40 percent, the US and Japan continued to be strong buyers. There was an increase in the business of shrimp culturing along the eastern coast but wild catches, especially on the western coast, dipped. Exports of squids and cuttlefish didn't show much improvement. With quality issues with China having been settled, exporters see an increase in buying from the country, added the report.