The Red Sea crisis and sluggish overseas demand have dented India’s seafood exports in value terms in FY24, witnessing a 5.39 per cent decline in rupee terms and an 8.80 per cent decline in dollar terms.

However, the export volume increased by 2.67 per cent in quantity. The country exported an all-time high volume of 17,81,602 tonnes of seafood worth $ 7.38 billion and ₹ 60,523.89 crore.

The USA and China are the major importers, and frozen shrimp continues to be the major export item, according to the Marine Products Export Development Authority.

They attributed the dip to sluggish consumer demand in major export destinations due to inflation in the USA, EU, and UK markets and issues connected with the Red Sea route.

The aquaculture sector contributed 62 per cent of exported items in dollars and 38 per cent in quantity. Capture fisheries contributed 62 per cent in quantity and 38 per cent in dollar value.

Frozen shrimp exports increased by 0.69 per cent in quantity from 7,11,099 tonnes to 7,16,004 tonnes. However, they declined in terms of rupee, dollar, and unit value. Competitive rates due to an oversupply of shrimp from competitor countries like Ecuador were also a reason for the decline.

USA is the single largest importer (2,97,571 tonnes) of frozen shrimp followed by China (1,48,483 tonnes), European Union (89,697 tonnes), Southeast Asia (52,254 tonnes), Japan (35,906 tonnes) and Middle East (28,571 tonnes), and other countries (63,521 tonnes).

The quantity of Vannamei shrimp exported was increased by 0.33 per cent, from 6,23,432 tonnes to 6,25,475 tonnes. Of the total Vannamei shrimp exports, about 53.52 per cent was exported to the USA, followed by China, the European Union, Southeast Asia, Japan, and the Middle East.

Shaji Baby John, chairman of Kochi-based Kings Infra Ventures, said the Red Sea crisis has led to the diversion of ships via the Cape of Good Hope which has made the transit time for the cargo to reach its destination more than 20 days. The European war has also led to a subdued demand, which considerably reduced the sale of squids and cuttlefish, leading to a price drop.

The uncertainty over CVD duties in the US markets in March led to a slowdown in Indian exports, witnessing a rise in exports from Ecuador to the US markets, he said.

However, the situation is becoming normal now, with a revival in exports in the current fiscal year mainly because of the opening up of the markets in China, Vietnam, the Middle East etc.