Visakhapatnam, Sept 26: The biggest takeaway of the three-day 20th India International Seafood Show (IISS) was total unanimity among all its stakeholders that the country’s seafood exports target of 10 billion US dollars by 2020 was ‘eminently possible’ and India would continue to be a marine sector hotspot, a top official of the industry said.
“There was a broad consensus among representatives of various marine products sector that India would be able to sustain the growth momentum and accomplish the ambitious exports target,” Dr A Jayathilak, Chairman, Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), said, summing up the proceedings of the IISS, which concluded here yesterday.
“The trade has created adequate technological safeguards to meet stringent quality check parameters imposed by foreign regulatory agencies, and it is strong enough to meet the challenges of its competitors,” he said.
Also, the government’s announcements, includingsetting up of agencies for aquaculture and fisheries in all coastal states and export incentives for marine products under Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS), would spur the growth of the country’s aquaculture industry, he noted.
“The industry needs to create more value added products and it presupposes investment in heavy machinery and advanced international aquaculture technology for quality control and diversification. The announcements by the Central government will give a fillip to the Blue Revolution by opening up the money-spinning sector to new avenues of financing,” Dr. Jayathilak said.
Also, it provides an opportunity for the Indian companies in the sector to forge partnerships with foreign players and boost fish production and exports with high-valued products. “Foreign investments can fulfill these needs of the seafood industry to a considerable extent,” he added.
“With the growing demand for Indian seafood products across the world, the dynamics of the seafood business in India is changing fast. There is a tremendous growth in the resources and infrastructure of the Indian seafood industry, and we need to tap these opportunities effectively,” he said.
Underscoring the need for products diversification and quality control, Dr. Jayathilak said there is a well-organised Aquatic Disease Surveillance Programme and an efficient state of the art Aquatic Quarantine Facility (AQF) at Chennai. At AQF, all the imported brooders/ post-larvae of Pacific Whiteleg Shrimp undergo detailed disease check for the entire Paris-headquartered OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health)-listed shrimp diseases and potential shrimp pathogens. Only disease-free animals are allowed for further breeding/rearing in the country.
“Due to the stringent protocols followed at AQF, our competitors like China, Thailand and the Philippines suffered from AHPND, a severe shrimp disease, during this decade, but India was not affected at all,” he pointed out.
“We are setting up a nuclear breeding centre for shrimps in Kanyakumari. Also, the Centre has given its nod for setting up of Aquatic Quarantine Facility and Brood Stock Multiplication centre in Andhra Pradesh,” he said, adding: “These factors will help boost additional exports and meet export targets.”
Dr. Jayathilak said the IISS 2016, an international showpiece event in the marine sector, received a tremendous response from international participants from countries like the US, Japan, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Spain, the UK, Vietnam, China, Taiwan and Thailand.
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