June 4, 2021

India’s seafood exports are showing signs of recovery following a decrease in sales as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a leading industry figure.

In the 2020-21 financial year the country exported 1,149,341 tonnes of seafood, 10.9% down on 2019-20’s figure of 1,289,651 tonnes, according to results from the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), which is part of India’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

While the newly released figures suggest a significant drop, much of it due to reduced demand, K S Srinivas, the MPEDA’s chairperson, said the latter part of the financial year was much more positive.

“The pandemic has drastically affected seafood exports during the first half of the year, but they revived well during the last quarter,” he said.

Indeed Srinivas said the uptick in the latter part of the financial year meant that the overall drop in exports was only half the expected figure of 20%.

The biggest importer of Indian seafood was the United States, which bought more than twice as much as the second-largest importer, China. The European Union was placed third, followed by Japan and South-east Asia.
India’s largest seafood exports were frozen shrimp and then frozen fish, with frozen shrimp accounting for 51.4% of exports by quantity and no less than 74.3% of earnings when measured in dollars.

Tying in with this, aquaculture accounted for 46.5% of India’s seafood exports by quantity and 68.0% in dollar value.

The seafood sector globally has been heavily hit by the pandemic, with restaurant closures, particularly earlier on in the pandemic, leading to a significant reduction in consumer demand. As well as falls in demand, alterations in supply have also caused turmoil, as have port closures.

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