New Delhi–Riding a robust demand for its frozen shrimp and fish, India exported 11,34,948 tonnes of seafood worth $5.78 billion (Rs 37,870.90 crore) in 2016-17, 23 per cent more over the $4.69 billion figure a year earlier, the government said on Wednesday.

India exported 9,45,892 tonnes of seafood in 2015-16.

With the US and SouthEast Asia continuing to be major importers, the demand from the European Union grew substantially during the period, a Commerce Ministry statement said.

“Increased production of L. Vannamei (whiteleg shrimp), diversification of aquaculture species, sustained measures to ensure quality and increase in infrastructure facilities for production of value-added products are largely responsible for India’s positive growth in seafood exports,” Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman said.

“Frozen shrimp maintained its top position in exports, accounting for 38.28 per cent in quantity and 64.50 per cent of total earnings in dollar terms. Shrimp exports increased by 16.21 per cent in quantity and 20.33 per cent in dollar terms. Frozen fish was the second largest export item, accounting for a share of 26.15 per cent and 11.64 per cent in dollar earnings, a growth of 26.92 per cent in terms of value,” the statement said.

The US imported 1,88,617 tonnes of Indian seafood, accounting for 29.98 per cent in dollar terms. Export to the US registered a growth of 22.72 per cent, 33 per cent and 29.82 per cent in quantity and value in rupee and US dollars respectively.

SouthEast Asia remained the second largest destination of India’s marine products, with a share of 29.91 per cent in dollar terms, followed by the EU (17.98 per cent), Japan (6.83 per cent), the Middle East (4.78 per cent), China (3.50 per cent) and other countries (7.03 per cent).

Overall, exports to SouthEast Asia increased by 47.41 per cent in quantity, 52.84 per cent in rupee value and 49.90 per cent in dollar earnings.

The export of Vannamei shrimp, a major seafood delicacy, improved from 2,56,699 tonnes to 3,29,766 tonnes in 2016-17, a growth of 28.46 per cent in quantity.

In value terms, 49.55 per cent of total Vannamei shrimp was exported to the US followed by 23.28 per cent to SouthEast Asian countries, 13.17 per cent to the EU, 4.53 per cent to Japan, 3.02 per cent to the Middle East and 1.35 per cent to China.

Japan was the major market for Black Tiger shrimp with a share of 43.84 per cent in terms of value, followed by the US (23.44 per cent) and SouthEast Asia (11.33 per cent).

Frozen shrimp continued to be the principal export item to the US with a share of 94.77 per cent in dollar value while Vannamei shrimp to that country showed an increase of 25.60 per cent in quantity and 31.75 per cent in dollar terms.

The EU continued to be the third largest destination for Indian marine products with a share of 16.73 per cent in quantity.

Frozen shrimp was the major item of exports, accounting for 40.66 per cent in quantity and 55.15 per cent in dollar earnings out of the total exports to the EU. Exports of Vannamei shrimp to the EU improved by 9.76 per cent in quantity and 11.40 per cent in dollar value.

Japan, the fourth largest destination for Indian seafood, accounted for 6.83 per cent in earnings and 6.08 per cent in quantity terms.

Frozen shrimp continued to be the major item of exports to Japan with a share of 45.31 per cent in quantity and 77.29 per cent in value.

India’s other major seafood product was frozen squid, which recorded a growth of 21.50 per cent, 59.44 per cent and 57 per cent in terms of quantity, rupee value and dollar earnings respectively.

Export of frozen cuttlefish showed a decline in quantity terms, but increased in rupee value and dollar terms by 18.85 per cent and 16.95 per cent respectively, it said. (IANS)