According to figures from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), India exported 99,566 tonnes of prawn, worth $1,269 million, to the US between January and November of 2014, up from 85,799 tonnes exported in the corresponding period of 2013, reports the TimesOfIndia.
Indonesia (94,524 tonnes), Ecuador (85,184 tonnes), Viet Nam (68,420 tonnes) and Thailand (56,143 tonnes) were the other major exporters of prawns to the US during this period.
Frozen prawns were the largest money earning component for India in seafood exports, accounting for 73.14 per cent of the US dollar earnings and 39.73 per cent of the overall seafood export quantity during April - October 2014.
"India's export performance in prawns could be attributed to the introduction of Vannamei, an exotic white shrimp from the Pacific, in the country in 2009. After constant lobbying from the local seafood industry, the government of India had approved the import of Vannamei broodstock (mother prawns) from Hawaii and Florida in the US, which had been a huge success here," said Mangala Babu, a seafood exporter in Kochi.
According to him, the early mortality syndrome (EMS) which affected China, Thailand and Viet Nam had brought down the prawn production in these countries, giving India a chance to outperform them.
"Compared to last year, Thailand's aquaculture production has gone down by 30 to 40 per cent, which drove up the demand for Indian prawns," he said.
Rupee's devaluation also helped exporters to quote lower prices compared to other prawn producers, he added.