India’s seafood exports to calamity-hit Japan will be affected for next six months due to the prevailing situation there, according to industry bodies.

A senior official of Marine Products Exports Development Authority (MPEDA) said many of the important cities other than Tokyo and Osaka in that country are still under duress and the lull in the Japanese retail market in devastated areas have forced exporters send small quantities.

MPEDA said during 2009-10 for the first time in the history of marine product exports, the earnings crossed $ two billion. Japan, which accounts for more than 15 per cent of the Indian exports of high-value seafood products during the first nine months of the financial year was placed third after the European Union countries and the U.S.

But fears of radiation spread across Japan’s northeast coast after the Fukushima nuclear power plant blast due to Tsunami and earthquake recently affecting the market.

“Cargo is going to Japan. But not the way it used to be.

Retail market in some parts of Japan has not recovered. Our estimation is, it will take 4-6 months for the full recovery,” the MPEDA official told PTI.

Anwar Hashim, President of Seafood Exporters’ Association of India said March shipments are yet to get clearances from the clearing agencies.

“Japan has been traditional market for us over the years. Presently Tokyo and Osaka started taking shipments. The March shipments have been affected due to the situation there,” Mr. Hashim said.

Last year, seafood exports from India has crossed all previous records in quantity, rupee value and US dollar terms.

Exports aggregated to 6,78,436 tonnes valued at Rs 10,048.53 crore and $ 2.1 billion. This year it may end at $ 2.4-2.5 billion.