Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Fisheries - Production, Export, Quality-check

Fisheries - Production, Export, Quality-check
                                      By Gulzar Ahmad Nayik, Shumaila Jan and Romee Jan
Fish industry is a major industry in coastal states of India employing over 14 million people. India is the second-largest producer of fish in the world contributing to 5.43% of global fish production. The country is also a major producer of fish through aquaculture and ranks second in the world after China. The total fish production during 2012-13 (provisional) is 90.62 lakh tonne with a contribution of 56.32 lakh tonne from inland sector and 34.30 lakh tonne from marine sector.

Fish production in India has increased more than tenfold since its freedom from British rule in 1947. As per the data available from Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, fish output in India doubled between 1990 and 2010. India has 8,118 km of marine coastline, 3,827 fishing villages, and 1,914 traditional fish landing centres. India's fresh water resources consist of 195,210 km of rivers and canals, 2.9 million hectare of minor and major reservoirs, 2.4 million hectare of ponds and lakes, and about 0.8 million hectare of flood plain wetlands and water bodies. The top three fish producing states in India (2012-13) include: Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Gujarat with a production of 16.7 lakh tonne, 14. 9 lakh tonne and 8.48 lakh tonne respectively. According to estimates of Central Statistical Organisation (CSO), the values of GDP from fisheries sector at current price during 2009-10 was 52,363 crore which is 4.85 per cent of the total GDP of agriculture and allied sectors. Some of the major freshwater fish species are as follows: Catla, Rohu, Mrigal, Calbasu Silver carp, Grass carp, Common carp, Murrels, Hilsa (inland), Penaeid shrimp while some marine fish species are categorised as follows: 
  • Pelagic fishes – High-value (PHV): Seerfish, oceanic tunas (yellowfin tuna, skipjack tuna), large carangids (Caranx sp.), pomfrets, pelagic sharks, mullets
  • Pelagic fishes – Low-value (PLV): Sardines, mackerel, anchovies, Bombayduck, coastal tunas, scads, horse mackerel, barracudas
  • Demersal fishes – High-value (DHV): Rock cods, snappers, lethrinids, big-jawed jumper (Lactarius), threadfins (Polynemids)
  • Demersal fishes – Low-value (DLV): Rays, silverbellies, lizard fishes, catfishes, goat fishes, nemipterids, soles
  • Crustaceans – High-value (Shrimp): Shrimps, lobsters
  • Molluscs and others (Molluscs): Cephalopods (squids, cuttlefishes and octopus), mussels, oysters, non-penaeid prawns, and so on.
Economic benefits:
In India, fisheries sector plays a vital role in the socio-economic development. It has been recognised as a powerful sector in augmenting national income through exports, enhancing food and nutritional security and supporting employment generation as it stimulates growth of a number of subsidiary industries, and is a source of cheap and nutritious food besides being a foreign exchange earner. Most importantly, it is one of the cheap sources of livelihood for a large section of economically underprivileged population of the country. The main challenges facing fisheries development in the country includes accurate data on assessment of fishery resources and their potential in terms of fish production, development of sustainable technologies for fin and shell fish culture, yield optimisation, harvest and post-harvest operations, landing and berthing facilities for fishing vessels and welfare of fishermen. 

Seafood exports:
The Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) is a statutory agency under the ministry of commerce & industry, Government of India. MPEDA is the nodal agency for promotion of export of marine products from India. During the financial year 2013-14, exports of marine products reached an all-time high of US$5007.70 million. Exports aggregated to 9,83,756 MT valued at Rs 30,213.26 crore and US$5,007.70 million. As compared to last year, seafood exports recorded a high growth of 5.98% in quantity, 60.23% in rupee and 42.6% growth in US$ earnings respectively. 

Exports during 2013-14 compared to 2012-13 
Export details
Growth %
Quantity Tonne
Value Rs crore
Value US$ Million

Major items of export:
Fish has retained its position as the principal export item in quantity terms and the second-largest export item in value terms, accounting for a share of about 32.97% in quantity and 14.15% in US$ earnings. Frozen shrimp continued to be one of the major leading export value items contributing a share of 64.12% of the total US$ earnings. Shrimp exports during the period increased by 31.85%, 99.54% and 78.06% in quantity, rupee value and US$ value respectively. There was an all-time high growth in unit value realisation of frozen shrimp at 35.05%. The export of Vannamei has shown tremendous growth from 91,171 MT to 1.75 lakh MT and US$1,994.27 million from 731.01 million compared to 2012-13. 44.59% of total Vannamei shrimp was exported to USA followed by 17.07% to the EU, 16.54% to south-east Asian countries and 4.01% to Japan in terms of US$.

Major export markets:
South-east Asia continued to be the largest buyer of Indian marine products with a share of 26.38% in terms of US$ value realisation. USA is the second-largest market with a share of 25.68% followed by the European Union (EU) (20.24%), Japan (8.21%), other countries (8.20%), China (5.85%) and the Middle-East (5.45%. Export to the Middle-East countries has shown good growth of 40.13%, 43.65% and 30.29% in terms of quantity, value and dollar terms respectively. Marine products were exported through 26 sea/air/land ports. Exports improved from Vizag, Chennai, Krishnapatnam, Tuticorin and Mangalore compared to the corresponding period during the last year. Pipavav is major port in terms of quantity (25.27%) and Vizag is major port in terms of dollar value (22.59%).

Law and regulations:
At the central level, several key laws and regulations are relevant to fisheries and aquaculture. These include :
1. British-era Indian Fisheries Act (1897) penalises the killing of fish by poisoning water and by using explosives
2. Environment (Protection) Act (1986) being an umbrella Act containing provisions for all environment-related issues affecting fisheries and aquaculture industry in India
3. Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act (1974)
4. Wild Life Protection Act (1972) 
5. 1955 Amendment to Land Reform Act, 1974 making land leasing for aquaculture
an exception
6. 1997 Court Directive to establish a Coastal Zone Management Authority to
enforce the principle of ‘precaution’ and ‘polluter pays’
7. Constitution of Aquaculture Authority to issue licence for traditional and improved
aquaculture within Coastal Regulated Zone (CRZ) 1997
8. Restriction on use of certain chemicals, antibiotics, pesticides and explosives, as
per Government of India Notification 2002 

All these legislations must be read in conjunction with one another, and with the local laws of a specific state, to gain a full picture of the law and regulations that are applicable to fisheries and aquaculture in India.

Important initiatives by Govt of India towards development of aquaculture
Establishment of National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) in September 2006
  • Established Coastal Aquaculture Authority (CAA) for regulation of coastal aquaculture activities
  • Under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme on Inland Fisheries & Aquaculture 8,04,753 ha of water area has been developed for pisciculture; 9,44,727 number of fish farmers were trained
  • Under Fish Farmers Development Agency (FFDA) for aquaculture, more than 13 lakh fish farmers have been given financial incentives. In addition, assistance was provided for development of 8,000 hectare of ponds and tanks for undertaking intensive aquaculture through National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB)
  • With a view to promote production of Sashimi grade tuna, fish processing facility of National Institute of Fish Post Harvest Technology and Training (NIFPHATT), a subordinate office of department of animal husbandry, dairying & fisheries, ministry of agriculture, at Kochi and Visakhapatnam has been modernised at an investment of . 2.40 crore and 1.85 crore respectively.
  • Under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) on Marine Fisheries seven major fishing harbours (FHs), 45 minor fishing harbours and 180 fish landing centres (FLCs) have been constructed and commissioned. Besides, another 25 minor FHs and 16 FLCs are under construction.
Packaged frozen fish food
As soon as a fish dies, spoilage of fish begins which is rather a complex process and is caused by a number of inter-related systems like degradation of protein with a subsequent formation of various products like hypoxanthine, trimethylamine, development of oxidative rancidity and the action of microorganisms. Freezing and frozen storage of fish can give a storage life of more than one year, if properly carried out. By lowering the temperature of the dead fish, spoilage can be retarded and, if the temperature is kept low enough, spoilage can be almost stopped. The freezing process alone is not a method of preservation. It is merely the means of preparing the fish for storage at a suitably low temperature. As soon as fish are removed from a freezer, they should be glazed or wrapped (unless they have been packaged before freezing) and immediately transferred to a low temperature store. After fish has been frozen, it can be subjected to many forms of deterioration between production and eventual consumption.
The variety of species, processes, methods of presentation and packaging available provide scope for preparation of numerous frozen fish products. Individually Quick Frozen (IQF) products are frozen as single units which need not be thawed for sub-division or perhaps even for cooking purposes. IQF single fillets and shrimp are two products of this type.
The demand for IQF products has increased with the upsurge in the number of low temperature "freezer" cabinets both in catering establishments and in the home. IQF freezing allows for the purchase of a frozen product in bulk and the selection from storage of only sufficient quantities to meet immediate requirements.
Other products such as blocks of fish and fish portions usually packaged in cartons are also produced for direct consumption without the need for reprocessing. The range of packaging material for frozen fish is very wide and is dependent on the form of the product being packed. Primary packaging includes plastics like polyvinylidene chloride (PVDC), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polypropylene, polyethylene and so on. Cartons are also used like kraft boards, folding box boards and recycled fibre boards. Secondary packaging is usually a carton which holds a number of primary packages. The secondary package is usually made from boards but can be bands of paper or plastic. Tertiary packaging is used to hold a number of secondary packages. Tertiary packaging may be palletised for easy handling and wrapped with shrink, stretch wrap or corrugated outers or may be packed in reusable containers.
(The authors are research scholars at department of food engineering & technology, Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering & Technology, Longowal, Punjab. They can be contacted at, or

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