Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: With exports continuing to slide in the negative territory, the trend seems to have caught the other areas too. India’s export of marine products declined by 1.35 per cent during the first 11 months of 2008-09 as demand fell in major markets like the U.S. and Europe due to global recession and economic slowdown.

Export of seafood products slipped to $1.70 billion during April-February 2008-09 from $1.72 billion in the year-ago period, according to Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) estimates.

India exported 5.30 lakh tonnes of seafood items during the first 11 months of 2008-09 as compared to 4.91 lakh tonnes during the same period in the previous fiscal. Seafood exports, which have a very minimal contribution in the country’s total outward shipments, went into the negative zone after October last year. However, officials are confident that marine items are likely to grow from the third quarter of the current fiscal as the demand from its main markets was expected to pick-up by this time.

Among marine products, shrimp is the main exporting item accounting for 44 per cent of the total seafood export earnings, followed by fish and cuttlefish. European Union is the largest market for Indian marine products with a share of 33 per cent, followed by Japan 14.89 per cent, China 14.44 per cent and the U.S. 11.92 per cent.