Though there is plenty of seafood available in Tuticorin, one of the coastal districts of Tamil Nadu, the marine products are sold at unaffordable price.

Since the fish food is being exported from Tuticorin on a large scale basis to countries abroad, there is a huge demand for domestic consumption.

In the wake of logistic support being extended by Tuticorin Port consistently, Tuticorin has made its presence felt in the map of India as one of the biggest seafood exporters.

With a chain of seafood industries raking in benefits by exporting quality fish food through Port, Tuticorin has become an ideal choice among foreigners for quality fish food. A species of quality and expensive fish, including cuttle, squid, shrimp and others were being exported according to consumers' demand.

As many as 10,683 tonnes of frozen shrimp, 5,765 tonnes of frozen cuttle fish, 3,805 tonnes of frozen squid fish and 3,386 tonnes of dried fish were exported to the European Union and other countries, including Japan, USA, China, South East Asia and the Middle East countries during 2009, A. Subbiah, Chairman (in – charge), Tuticorin Port Trust told The Hindu.

Citing country-wise export, he said that a large consignment of seafood was exported to the European Union. As many as 10,720 tonnes of marine products had been exported to the European Union from Tuticorin Port in 2009.

“There are already 10 seafood processing industries in Tuticorin, which have been approved by the European Union. Since techniques being adopted by such industries here accordingly, the quality standards comply with hygienic preservation for consumption as intended by the EU”, G. Jeyasekaran, Professor, Department of Fish Processing Technology, Fisheries College and Research Institution, Tuticorin, added.

“Since the availability of feeds, including phytoplankton, zooplankton and coral polyps, is fertile along the unpolluted waters of the Gulf of Mannar, the quality of fish meets the standards approved by the European Union”, J. Daniel Jameson, Former Director, Research and Extension, FCRI, pointed out.

Unlike other coastal districts in Tamil Nadu, the fishing operations are being carried out on a daily basis in Tuticorin. Multi-day fishing is being made operational in other districts. Moreover, the fishermen here are committed to following cultured fishing after ascertaining its demand for consumption from the people.

To maintain the quality, a large amount of ice-bars made of bacterial-resistant freshwater as insisted by Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) is being carried in fishing boats while venturing into sea. The quality is preserved until unloading it at an auction hall in fishing harbour, M. Sakthivel, president, Aquaculture Foundation of India, Chennai, and former chairman of MPEDA, said.

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