Black Tiger shrimp to drive India’s seafood exports

Visakhapatnam, Oct 14 (IANS) Black Tiger shrimp, or Asian Shrimp, are a much sought-after delicacy in most parts of the world. India, a major exporter of shrimp, is now taking steps to substantially boost its output. This comes at a time when the United States has removed the anti-dumping duty on Indian shrimp.

“This will be beneficial to the farmers and help in the growth of the marine products industry in India,” K. Shivakumar, Consultant with the Seafood Exporters Association of India (SEAI), told IANS.

According to Shivakumar, the US Commerce Department rolled back the duty in early September this year during its final review.

Indian marine export organisations are now aiming for a seafood export target of $10 billion by 2020, more than double the $4.68 billion worth exported in 2015-16. Shrimp made up the lion’s share of these exports at $3.09 billion or Rs 20,045 crore. Among shrimp, Black Tiger (Penaeus Monodon) is the crustacean of choice.

The export of Black Tiger shrimp last year improved by 6.56 per cent in quantity but decreased by 30.35 per cent in US dollar earnings owing to the depressed global economic scenario. Total production was 71,400 tonnes.

Monodons dominate the export market because of their fast growth, large harvest size and attractive price. In the US and Southeast Asia, it’s much in demand. To meet the enhanced demand, and boost exports, more broodstock multiplication centres are likely to be set up in the country, particularly for Monodon production.

“Setting up of a nucleus breeding centre in India, like the one in Hawaii in the US, is seriously being looked at and is likely to come about in a year or two,” A. Jayathilak, Chairman, Marine Products Exports Development Authority (MPEDA), a statutory body under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, told IANS.

Jayathilak, who was talking on the sidelines of the recently-held India International Seafood Show, said MPEDA’s role was not only to boost production and exports but to ensure that shrimp are farmed or trawled in a sustainable manner, keeping in mind the environment needs.

Also called Giant Tiger Prawns, their peak season is from November to May. They are native to the coasts of the Arabian peninsula, Australia, Indonesia, south and southeast Asia and South Africa. They are also abundantly available or cultured on the West Bengal and Orissa coasts.

For years, Thailand dominated the shrimp export market to the US — the largest consumer of such marine products. But in 2009, a disease called Necrotising Hepatopancreatitis, or early mortality syndrome, proved to be a major problem for Thai exporters. The sharp fall in production opened the door for India to become dominant. And it has never looked back.

The other variety of prawn which is widely trawled or produced in India is Litopenaeus Vannamei, or the Pacific White shrimp — also known as the White-Legged shrimp. In 1996, MPEDA, in collaboration with the Oceanic Institute of Hawaii in the US, began the first — and so far the only — Broodstock Multiplication Centre for L. Vannamei in Andhra Pradesh, which sells broodstock to hatcheries across the country. Now MPEDA is looking to expand the regions where hatcheries for L. Vannamei could be set up.

“We are examining the scope of production of Pacific White in naturally saline areas within the country such as those found in Haryana and Punjab,” Jayathilak said.

According to SEAI, the Pacific White had been successfully cultured in Rohtak, Haryana, showing that a huge untapped potential for the species could emerge.

(Priya Yadav was in Visakhapatnam to cover the seafood show at the invitation of MPEDA and SEAI. She can be reached at Priya.y@ians.in)

–IANS

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