K. Venkiteswaran

Agriculture Ministry notifies guidelines

Chennai to be designated port of entry

Overseas suppliers are to be shortlisted

KOCHI: A long-pending demand of the aquaculture and seafood industry is being met with the Union Ministry of Agriculture granting permission to cultivate the Litopenaeus Vannamei species of shrimp in the country.

Sources in the Seafood Exporters’ Association of India (SEAI) said the Departments of Animal Husbandry, Dairy and Fisheries, under the Agriculture Ministry, had notified the guidelines for import and cultivation of the species here.

A separate notification carries the guidelines for hatchery production and culture of the species.

According to the notification, permission for importing broodstock of Vannamei would be granted by the Coastal Aquaculture Authority (CAA) keeping the annual requirements in mind.

The CAA, in consultation with the National Fisheries Development Board, the Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture and the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), would shortlist the overseas suppliers based on the genetic base and disease status. Import of broodstock will be permitted only from such suppliers.

Chennai will be the ‘designated port of entry’ for the imported broodstock, according to the guidelines. There will be an inspection of the consignment by the Animal Quarantine Officer before it is despatched to the quarantine facility.

The Ministry had also issued a direction to constitute monitoring committees at various levels to inspect the farms in which the imported shrimp would be cultivated.

Vannamei shrimp is a native species of South America and is being cultivated widely in various Asian countries like China, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia.

Almost ninety per cent of the world’s shrimp production is of the Vannamei species. Its production cost is reportedly half that of Monodon species like Black Tiger and Indicus, which are commonly cultivated in India.

Due to the advent of low-cost species, prices of shrimp in advanced economies like the U.S. and the European Union had dropped substantially and India lost its major traditional markets in recent years.

The seafood-export industry had been actively pressing for the introduction of this species.