K. Venkiteswaran

Depreciation of dollar hits exporters

Shortage of raw materials hits industry

‘Introduce vannamei species of shrimps in aquaculture’

KOCHI: The beleaguered seafood industry is passing through a crisis, owing to shortage of raw materials, devaluation of the dollar and anti-dumping duty imposed by the United States Department of Commerce, said the former national president of the Seafood Exporters Association of India (SEAI) A.J. Tharakan. He was addressing the 37th annual general meeting of the Association here recently.

Enhancement of DEPB

However, the Indian seafood industry has grown to a stage where it has been recognised as a major industry and gained reputation at the national and international level, he said.

Mr. Tharakan explained in detail the highs and lows in industry the during the past few years and noted that like any other industry, the seafood industry was also considered for enhancement of the Duty Entitlement Passbook Scheme (DEPB) from 5 per cent to 8 per cent to compensate the losses incurred by the exporters due to devaluation of the dollar. Subsequently the additional DEPB granted to most of the industries was withdrawn by the Ministry of Commerce.

Enables duty reduction

The SEAI could convince the ministry concerned of the need to grant enhanced DEPB to the seafood industry, which resulted in enhancing the DEPB on fishing industry from 5 to 8 per cent.

The SEAI has been actively involved in the case filed by the Union government at the WTO in the Custom Bond issue. The efforts made in the WTO resulted in abolishing of bonds and thereby the Indian exporters to the U.S. will have to pay only 7.22 per cent duty instead of 10.17 per cent.

Mr. Tharakan also explained the need to introduce vannamei species of shrimps instead of black Tiger in aqua culture. In the present scenario, the demand for black tiger is declining and the cost of the same has decreased from Rs. 160 to Rs. 90 a kg. This has become unviable. In this context, Mr. Tharakan explained the need to switch over to the vannamei culture to compete with our Asian competitor, as vannamei shrimp is high yielding and disease resistant.

Anwar Hashim, managing director of Abad groups was unanimously elected national president of Seafood Exporters Association of India. R. Bhattacharya, Thriveni Fisheries, Kolkata, was elected vice-president. Nobert Karikkassery, Inter Seas, was elected treasurer of the Association.