Staff Reporter

Project to boost Indian seafood exports

KOCHI: The Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Innovation Norway (IN), a Norwegian Government-owned company, for developing cage culture in the country.

The objectives of the collaborative efforts will be to carry out a detailed survey of the potential sites in India, short-listing sites along the inshore regions, establishing pilot-scale projects for commercial demonstration and to prove the techno economic feasibility of the projects under Indian conditions.

Developing suitable health management package for cultured species and marketing of Indian brands of the cultured products in the international market, using value-added branding, especially in the European Union markets, were the other aims of the programme, said an MPEDA release here on Wednesday.

The project is expected to make a new beginning for Indian aquaculture and to boost Indian seafood exports. India is already the second largest aquaculture production country in the world and the attempt is to diversify coastal aquaculture in the country to raise fish production further.

According to the MPEDA target, Indian seafood exports is targeted to fetch four billion U.S. dollars by 2010 and six billion U.S. dollars by 2015. The new initiative is to pursue this aim and the MPEDA has drawn up elaborate plans to improve aquaculture production. Seafood exports from the country is worth over 1.85 billion U.S. dollars during the last financial year and shrimp continues to contribute a lion’s share to the export kitty accounting for 55 per cent of the value. Coastal aquaculture contributes substantially to shrimp production for export purpose and 84 per cent of the shrimp exported from India is cultured.