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Dependence on select markets hurts fish exports

INDIA - Indian exports are extremely susceptible to the negative consequences of trade barriers because of its massive dependance on a very small number of destination markets.

This is the key finding of a study by the Delhi-based Centre for Social Research, which says more should be done to woden the export spectrum. The FAO catagorises India as a medium-level fish producing country, with fish production is about four per cent of the world capture and five per cent of the world volume and value in aquaculture.

However, a report in the Financial Express says that while in over 16 years (1989-2005) the volume of exported marine products increased 4.6 times, the unit value increased only by 2.5 times. Tis implies that Indian fishery exports still occupy a low value segment in the global fish trade.

The study also highlighted that the effect of a European ban in indian seafood - due to hygiene problems - was felt in 1998-99 with the loss of 21.48 per cent in export quantity and 14.58 per cent in dollar value. In 2002, Japan imposed strict standards on shrimps imported from India and made it mandatory for the consignments to be accompanied by a certificate stating the materials were of antibiotics. In 1996, the US imposed a ban on Indian shrimps for not using appropriate measures to reduce turtle mortality caused by trawlers. However, this measure had little impact on overall Indian marine exports. The US imposed anti-dumping duties on Indian marine products in 2003.

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Ellen Hardy

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