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India Tuna Exports Keep Growing

Beating the global economic downturn, marine products exports from India increased to Rs 8607.94 crore during 2008-09 even as China emerged the second largest market with exports of the country shown a 15 per cent rise in dollar terms. India exported 602,000 tons of seafood products during 2008-09, showing an increase of 11.29 per cent in quantity and 12.95 per cent in rupee earnings, Marine Products Exports Development Authority (MPEDA) Chairperson Leena Nair shared Fish, the principal export item in quantity terms and the second largest export item in value, accounted for a share of about 40 per cent in quantity and 20 per cent in export earnings, she said.

Nair also revealed that production of coastal aquaculture came down during 2008-09 with production touching 88,803 tons at an estimated value of Rs 1915 crore during the year. The Shrimp production from coastal aquaculture was 75,997 tons from the culture area of 108,000 hectares. Compared to the previous year, the decrease is about 28.4 per cent in production and 10.9 per cent in area.

The production of fresh water prawn (Scampi) during the year was 12,806 tons from an area of 1,644 hectares showing a reduction of 53 per cent in production and 63 per cent in area utilization.

The Chairperson said the MPEDA has also taken steps for increasing production from aquaculture, including GIS mapping in farm census and Traceablity. This has begun in Andhra Pradesh. “We are testing the results and would extend to other states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Orissa,” she added. Exotic shrimp L Vannamei has also been introduced.

She said Tuna will be another area of sizeable exports from India. The estimated potential of tuna in Indian EEZ is 213,000 tons.

To exploit this resource, MPEDA has begun implementing a scheme for converting existing trawlers to tuna long liners. About 1000 vessels will be converted during this plan period to exploit about 90,000 tons of tuna.

“So far 225 vessels have been converted,” she added.