KOCHI: Even as the statistics released by the Marine Products Export Development Authority revealed a considerable growth in seafood exports from India, exports from Kerala, once a topper in seafood exporting, is showing a fluctuating trend. Seafood exports from Kerala have not recorded a steady growth since 2012.
It has been only a few months since the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) came up with the annual report in which the alarming rate of decrease in fish production in Kerala was highlighted. As per the annual report of the central institute, Kerala produces only 60 percent of the fish required domestically.
The fluctuating statistics of the last five years shared by the Kerala chapter of the Seafood Exporters Association of India (SEAI) show seafood exports from Kerala facing a crisis. The major reason is nothing but the huge fall in fish production, according to a SEAI office-bearer.
The same crisis is faced by other maritime states also, but their government has initiated more proactive steps to overcome the crisis by encouraging aquaculture. "Andhra, where the state government has announced various schemes, has already gone far ahead of us. Now a major share of the consignment sent from Kerala is fish sourced from Andhra," said Alex Ninan, of Baby Marine International, who is also president of the SEAI Kerala chapter.''Government intervention by promoting aquaculture is essential to support the seafood export sector,'' Ninan said.
As per SEAI statistics, seafood exports from Kerala in 2012-13 was 1,62,109 tonnes and worth Rs 3,266 crore, but it fell to 1,60,798 tonnes the next year. The value rose to Rs 4,491 crore from the amount recorded in the previous year. The quantity rose to 1,62,818 tonnes in 2014-15, but registered a big fall to 1,45,193 in 2015-16. In 2016-17, there was a slight increase in the quantity with 1,55,989 tonnes being exported, and the value at Rs 4,860 crore.