Marine exports: Rejuvenating the blue economy

Trade Promotion Council of India organised a webinar on Marine exports: Rejuvenating India’s blue economy on Wednesday, 11th August 2021 at 3:00 pm.

Over the last few decades, India has managed to catapult itself as the second-largest producer of inland fish in the world and accounts for about 14% of the global fish diversity. This can be attributed to the country having a coastline of about 7,516 kilometers, which is the quintessential breeding ground for a rich variety of marine life. The sector is particularly significant to India, not merely from the prism of its nutritional value and food security, but also for its economic contribution as it creates gainful employment for 40.5 million people in the country and contributes around 1% to India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Yet, the seafood industry is not able to reach its true export potential as fish and fish products stemming from India constitute only 10% of total global exports. The sector lags in areas like value addition due to critical gaps in the supply chain including the seasonal nature of wild catch, stiff international competition from some of the other Asian economies, the challenges posed by global warming and pollution of aquatic bodies, and low average utilization of processing capacity.

Added to this are food standards and non-tariff measures which hinder India’s marine exports. While only 10% of the imports of shrimps into the EU from other countries are checked for the presence of antibiotics named nitrofurantine and chlorophenicol, 50% of the imports from India into the EU are checked on the grounds that antibiotics are freely sold over the counter in India and hence their usage is unrestricted. The pandemic has further added to the woes of the sector as there has been a 10.88% slump in India’s seafood exports in 2020-21.

The session focussed on the following takeaways:

• An understanding of India’s current marine exports – key products, markets & challenges.

• Impact of COVID-19 on the sector and strategies to cope with it.

• India’s competitiveness as a marine exporter. • Climate change as a threat to the sector.

• The key areas for foreign investment potential in the sector. • Role of a sustainable ocean economy in India’s post-pandemic growth.

The panellists for the session include:

• Vijaykumar Yaragal, Executive Director, National Fisheries Development Board

• Chalasani Bhaskar, Agri ESG Agripreneur

• Dr. K. Sunil Mohamed, Former Principal Scientist & Head, Molluscan Fisheries Division, Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute

• Virat Bahri, Deputy Director, Trade Promotion Council of India and Editor, India Business & Trade

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