India’s seafood exports touch all-time high by volume in FY 2023-24

Bharat Mahan

Major export items include frozen shrimp and frozen fish; US & China remain top export destination

India’s seafood exports touched an all-time high in volume during the financial year 2023-24 despite various challenges in significant export markets. India shipped 17,81,602 MT of seafood worth ₹60,523.89 crore (US$7.38 billion) during 2023-24. 

Frozen shrimp remained the major export item in quantity and value, while the USA and China became the major importers of India’s seafood. During FY 2023-24, the export improved in quantity terms by 2.67%. In 2022-23, India exported 17,35,286 MT of seafood worth ₹63,969.14 crore (US$8,094.31million).

“India recorded an all-time high export in terms of volume by shipping 17,81,602 MT of seafood worth US$ 7.38 billion, despite the several challenges in its major export markets like the USA, EU & the UK,” Shri D V Swamy IAS, Chairman, Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), said.

Frozen shrimp, which earned ₹40,013.54 crore (US$4881.27million), retained its position as the top item in the seafood export basket, accounting for a share of 40.19% in quantity and 66.12% of the total dollar earnings. Shrimp exports during the period increased by 0.69% in quantity terms.

The export of frozen shrimps during 2023-24 was pegged at 7,16,004 MT. The USA, the largest market, imported 2,97,571 MT of frozen shrimp, followed by China (1,48,483MT), the European Union (89,697 MT), Southeast Asia (52,254MT), Japan (35,906MT), and the Middle East (28,571 MT).

The export of black tiger (BT) shrimp increased by 24.91%, 11.33% and 8.28% in quantity, value ₹ and US$ terms, respectively, in 2023-24. BT shrimps were exported to the tune of 38,987 MT worth ₹2855.27 Cr (US$347.84 million).  China (including Hong Kong) turned out to be the major export destination for black tiger shrimp with a share of 28.43% in terms of US$ value, followed by the USA (18.21%), European Union (18.06%) and Japan (13.12%).  Scampi exports have shown a positive trend of 6.42%, 23.22% and 18.96% in quantity, value ₹ and US$ terms, respectively, in 2023-24. The Vannamei shrimp exports have grown in 2023-24 by 0.33% by volume; however, they declined by 11.56% from US$ 4809.99 million to US$ 4253.86 million.

Other Major Export Items

Frozen fish, the second largest exported item, fetched ₹5,509.69 crore (US$671.17 million), accounting for 21.42% in quantity and 9.09% in US$ earnings. This year, the export of frozen fish increased by 3.54% and 0.12% in quantity and value ₹ terms, respectively; however, it declined by 2.31% in US$ terms.

Fish and shrimp- meal & feed- non-edible dried items, the third most prominent item in the export basket, earned ₹3684.79 Cr (US$ 449.17 million), accounting for 15.89 per cent share in quantity and 6.08 per cent in dollar earnings, showing an increase of 15.99%, 34.07% and 31.52% by quantity, value ₹ and US$ terms. Exports in this group were exported to the tune of 2,83,019 MT. Unit value growth observed in this group was 13.38%.

Frozen squid, the fourth largest export item, fetched ₹3061.46 crore (US$ 373.40 million), accounting for a 5.25 per cent share in quantity and 5.06 per cent in dollar earnings. The export of frozen squid increased by 11.52% in quantity terms.

The export of Surimi and Surimi Analogs, at the fifth most significant position, pegged at 1,35,327 MT, grew 4.12% in quantity terms and earned ₹2,414.43 crores (US$294.43 million).

The export of frozen cuttlefish, at the sixth most prominent position, pegged at 54,316 MT worth ₹2252.63 crores (274.62 US$ million), accounting for 3.05 per cent share in quantity and 3.72 per cent in US$ earnings.

The export of chilled items at the seventh most prominent position, which is considered a promising sector, also increased by 47.06 % in quantity terms and 8.66%in US$ terms.

Frozen octopus, the eighth largest export item, fetched US$62.17 million, followed by fish oil (US$58.51 million), live items (US$48.61 million), dried edible items (US$ 37.60 million), Frozen lobster (US$ 33.67 million), and Fish maws (US$ 16.76 million).

Major Export Destinations

As for overseas markets, the USA continued to be the major importer of Indian seafood in value terms, with an import worth US$2,549.15 million, accounting for a share of 34.53% in terms of US$ value. Exports to the US increased by 7.46% and 1.42% in quantity and value ₹ terms; however, they declined by 3.15% in US$ terms. Frozen shrimp continued to be the principal item exported to the US, with a share of 91.90% in US terms. Exports of black tiger shrimp to the US increased by 35.37% in quantity terms and 32.35% in value in US terms.

China (excluding Hong Kong and Taiwan) emerged as the second largest seafood export destination country for India in terms of US$ with an import volume of 4,51,363 MT worth US$1,384.89 million, accounting for 25.33% share in quantity and 18.76% in US$ terms. Exports to China grew by 12.80% in quantity; however, they declined by 0.88% in ₹ value and 4.21% inUS$ value. Frozen shrimp, the major item of exports to China, had a share of 32% in quantity and 55.11% in US$ value, while frozen fish had a second most share of 36.83% in quantity and 21.56% in terms of US$ value out of the total exports to China.

Japan is the third largest importer, with a share of 6.06% in quantity and 5.42% in US$ value terms. Frozen shrimp continued to be the major item of exports to Japan, with a share of 33.26% in quantity, 65.94% in ₹, and 65.98% in US$ value.

Vietnam holds the fourth largest market position, importing 1,32,086 MT worth US$ 391.41 million. Frozen shrimp dominates the import with a share of 55.43% in US$ earnings and 30.11% in quantity, followed by dried items.

Thailand is the fifth largest market, with a US$ share of 3.82% and a third-place position by volume (7.77% share), with 1,38,457 MT worth US$ 281.97 million. Frozen fish remained the significant item exported to Thailand, accounting for a share of 44.37% in US$ earnings and 63.91% in quantity.

Canada ranks as the sixth largest market in US$ (2.70% share) and tenth position by volume (1.40% share) terms, with 24,956 MT worth US$ 199.13 million. Frozen shrimp dominates the exports to Canada, with a share of 93.36% in US$ earnings and 89.48% in quantity terms.

Spain is the seventh largest market in US$ (2.65% share) and sixth largest by volume (2.24% share), with an export volume of 39,849 MT worth US$ 195.95 million. Frozen cuttlefish continued to be the significant item exported to Spain, with a share of 44.01% in US$ and 33.01% in quantity terms.

Belgium ranks eighth among seafood export destinations for India with US$ share of 2.42% followed by United Arab Emirates (UAE) (2.15% share) and Italy (2.14% share).

The top 10 markets contribute 79.89% by US$ terms.

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