New Delhi, 3 June- The COVID pandemic and sluggish overseas markets cast their shadow over India’s resurgent seafood sector as the country exported 11,49,341 MT of marine products worth Rs 43,717.26 crore (US$ 5.96 billion) during FY 2020-21, registering a contraction of 10.88 percent as compared to a year earlier. USA, China, and the European Union were the leading importers, while frozen shrimp retained its position as the major export item, followed by frozen fish. In 2019-20, India exported 12,89,651 MT of seafood worth Rs 46,662.85 crore (US$ 6.68 billion), marking a decline of 6.31 percent in rupee terms and 10.81 percent in dollar value in 2020-21. “The pandemic drastically affected seafood exports during the first half of the year, but it revived well in the last quarter of 2020-21. Also, the aquaculture sector performed better during this fiscal by contributing 67.99 percent of exported items in dollar terms and 46.45 percent in quantity, which is 4.41 percent and 2.48 percent higher, respectively when compared to 2019-20,” said K S Srinivas, Chairman of the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA). Frozen shrimp contributed 51.36 percent in quantity and 74.31 percent 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 percent in dollar value and 9.50 percent in quantity. The overall shrimps export was 5,90,275 MT worth 4,426.19 million dollars. The export of Vannamei (white leg) shrimp decreased from 5,12,204 MT to 4,92,271 MT in 2020-21. Of the total Vannamei shrimp exports in dollar value, 56.37 percent was exported to the USA, followed by China (15.13 percent), EU (7.83 percent), South East Asia (5.76 percent), Japan (4.96 percent), and the Middle East (3.59 percent). Japan, the major market for Black Tiger (Penaeus monodon) shrimp, had a share of 39.68 percent in dollar terms, followed by the USA (26.03 percent), South East Asia (9.32 percent), EU (8.95%), the Middle East (6.04 percent) and China (3.76 percent). Frozen fish, with a share of 16.37 percent in quantity and 6.75 percent in dollar earnings, retained the second position in the exports basket though its shipments plummeted by 15.76 percent in quantity and 21.67 percent in dollar terms. ‘Other Items’, the third-largest category that largely comprised Surimi (fish paste) and Surimi analog (imitation) products, showed a marginal growth of 0.12 percent and 0.26 percent by quantity and rupee value, respectively, but declined in dollar terms by 5.02 percent. Frozen squid and frozen cuttlefish exports declined in volume by 30.19 percent and 16.38 percent, respectively.
However, dried items showed an increase of 1.47 percent and 17 percent in quantity and rupee value, respectively. Shipments of chilled items and live items, which were negatively affected due to the reduced air cargo connectivity in the pandemic situation, fell by 16.89 percent and 39.91 percent in volume, respectively. Capture fisheries contribution reduced from 56.03 percent to 53.55 percent in quantity and from 36.42 percent to 32.01 percent in dollar value. However, tilapia and ornamental fish performed well with 55.83 percent and 66.55 percent increase in quantity and an uptick of 38.07 percent and 14.63 percent in dollar earnings, respectively. Tuna showed a 14.6 percent increase in quantity, but its dollar earnings down by 7.39 percent. Crab and scampi exports reduced both in quantity and value. The USA, with imports of 2,91,948 MT, continued to be the major importer of Indian seafood with a share of 41.15 percent in dollar terms. Exports to that country grew by 0.48 % in rupee value but declined by 4.34 percent and 4.35 percent in quantity and dollar terms, respectively. Frozen shrimp remained the principal item exported to the USA while exports of Vannamei shrimp showed an uptick of 6.75 percent in quantity. However, its import of Black Tiger shrimps decreased by 70.96 percent and 65.24 percent in quantity and dollar terms, respectively.
China, with an import of 2,18,343 MT of seafood worth 939.17 million dollars, remained the second largest market with a share of 15.77 percent in dollar earnings and 19 percent in quantity terms. However, exports to this country declined by 33.73 percent and 31.68 percent in quantity and dollar terms, respectively. Frozen shrimp was the major item of exports to China, accounting for a share of 46.64 percent in quantity and 61.87 percent in dollar earnings. EU, the third largest destination with a share of 13.80 percent in dollar value, imported frozen shrimp as the major item. However, the export of frozen shrimp to EU countries decreased by 5.27 percent and 6.48 percent in quantity and dollar value, respectively. Exports to South East Asia had a share of 11.17 percent in dollar value. However, it declined by 2.56 percent in quantity and 5.73 percent in dollar earnings. Shipments to Japan, the fifth largest importer with a share of 6.92 percent in dollar terms, grew by 10.52 percent in quantity but declined by 2.42 percent in dollar value. The Middle East, the sixth-largest destination with a share of 4.22 percent in dollar value, declined by 15.30 percent and 15.51 percent in quantity and dollar terms, respectively. Frozen shrimp was the major item of exports, having a share of 72.23 percent in dollar terms.