Seafood exports drop following dip in production

August 12th, 2008 - 7:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Kochi, Aug 12 (IANS) Dip in aquaculture and shrimp production and unfavourable duty structures in the US have led to exports of marine products falling sharply in the last fiscal, a top official said here. According to Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) chairman G. Mohan Kumar, export revenues also fell - to Rs.76.21 billion from Rs.83.64 billion in 2006-07.

“The total quantity of seafood exports fell to 541,701 tonnes in the last fiscal from 612,641 tonnes in 2006-07,” Kumar told reporters.

Similarly, total aquaculture production in the country at 1,33,422 tonnes was less by 41,040 tonnes as compared to the previous year. In value terms, this translated to a fall of Rs.9.41 billion.

Likewise, total shrimp production also came down 26.5 percent as compared to 2006-07, primarily because several farms were affected by diseases.

Another reason for falling export volumes and export revenues was the increased import duty on all seafood items in the US.

Since 2006, exports to the US have been falling on account of trade barriers in the form of US customs bond, and imposition of a 10.17 percent anti-dumping duty on frozen shrimp.

Maintaining the trend, exports to the US fell from 43,758 tonnes in 2006-07 to 36,612 tonnes in 2007-08.

Kumar said the highest exports were to the European Union - 149,381 tonnes that accounted for 27.58 percent of overall exports, fetching $633.17 million.

This was followed by Japan, which imported 67,373 tonnes of marine products, valued at US $305.49 million.

Exports to China, at 139,792 tonnes, were more in volume terms though accounting for lesser revenue - $252.9 million.

In terms of individual products, frozen shrimp accounted for 52 percent of exports ($980.62 million), followed by frozen fish that accounted for 17 percent ($326.29 million).

Kumar added that MPEDA has taken measures to increase production through GIS (geographic information systems) mapping for farm census and traceability.

“Introduction of tilapia fish, cage farming of fin fish, assistance to societies and extension activities through the National Centre for Sustainable Aquaculture have also been taken up,” he said.

MPEDA has also appointed promotional company Lintas as the marketing consultants for promotion of brand equity, co-branding and joint venture.

“We will take part in eight international seafood fairs across the world this year, and a trade delegation will be sent to Japan, Russia and South Africa to strengthen relationship with these countries,” Kumar said.

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