The industry is currently worth US$10.4bn, with the processed seafood segment accounting for US$1.6bn, or about 15%, according to a study by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).
The study said that fish production in India is likely to cross 12m tonnes by 2015 from the current level of about 9.3m tonnes, of which captured fish accounts for about 65%, while aquaculture accounts for about 30%.
‘Plethora of opportunities’
D S Rawat, secretary general of ASSOCHAM, said that India contains over 8,000 kilometers of coastline, four million hectares of reservoirs, two million hectares of brackish water and nearly 51,000 square kilometers of continental shelf area.
“These offer a plethora of opportunities for the growth of marine and fish industry of India. These substantial fishery resources are under-utilised and there is tremendous potential to further increase the output,” said Rawat.
Rawat pointed out that there is a huge scope for investments for the private sector in packaged marine processing plants, operations in preservation, and in the processing and export of coastal fish.
According to the study, nearly 30% of marine and fish annually produced in India is exported and that the processing of fish into canned and frozen forms is carried out almost entirely for the export market.
“Vannamei shrimp, black tiger shrimp, cuttlefish, lobster, clams, fish fillets and squid are certain products that provide opportunities for export of marine items from India,” Rawat said.
Seafood exports from India are likely to touch US$4.7bn by 2013 from the US$2.8bn in 2010-11 through value addition, expansion of aquaculture, technology upgrades, and tapping of unexplored resources, the study said.
Rawat said that there is scope for developing technology for value addition and infrastructure for exports in the form of marine products-based food parks through public private partnership.
“Besides, there is an increased demand for processed and ready-to-eat marine products in the domestic market,” he said, adding that ASSOCHAM is encouraging foreign investment in infrastructure for distribution and storage.
The study said that Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerela, Maharashtra, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal are key states that have huge potential to enhance India’s seafood export potential.