Seafood Exporters’ Association has called for expanding aquaculture in the State using the Pradhan Manthri Matsya Sampadha Yojana funds to promote cage culture in coastal areas and to start hatcheries for supply of quality seeds.
Alex K. Ninan, Kerala region president of the Association, said fish and shrimp farmers could be brought under the crop insurance scheme for farmers. He added that fishers should be financed to upgrade their boats, and they should also be provided subsidy for diesel.
The development and modernisation of fishing harbours and the setting up of common effluent treatment plants for the shrimp peeling industry is among demands raised by the Association.
The value of marine product exports from the country reached ₹47,200 crore in 2021, which is an increase of 25% from the previous year. Shrimp exports alone accounted for around 65% in value in export earnings. The Association is of the view that Kerala’s share in exports could be increased using its potential in aquaculture.
The Association said Kerala had been the number one State for seafood exports from the 1950s to mid-2005. However, the State fell to the 5th position with Andhra Pradesh leading the list. Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal are the other States on top of the list.
The seafood sector, according to the Association, accounted for the highest number of employment in the State, linked to fishing, peeling, processing, ice plants, and harbours.
The Association said the depletion in wild catch or catch from the sea had resulted in processing plants in Kerala depending mostly on cultured shrimp from other States, the landed cost of which was making it difficult for the plants to operate. The rising cost had also resulted in reducing the competitiveness of the industry in the international market.