|Vannamei culture yields 20 tonnes per ha, against the 2-3 tonnes that the black tiger variety produces.|
India produces mainly black tiger shrimp and processing facilities are running at only about 30% of their capacity. Asian export rivals, such as Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia, have already introduced this variety and have seen their production rise.
“India needs to look at alternatives and the vannamei variety is the best bet,” says Ravi Reddy, president of the Seafood Exporters Association of the Tamil Nadu region.
According to Reddy, China produces 650,000 tonnes every year, Thailand 450,000 tonnes, Indonesia 400,000 tonnes and Vietnam 350,000 tonnes with over 90% of the total produce being vannamei shrimp.
Meanwhile, the prices of Indian black tiger shrimps have dropped by $1-10 (about Rs40-400) a kg in the last two months.
Coupled with the appreciation of the rupee against the dollar, earnings of shrimp exporters here have taken a hit.
G. Mohanty, president of the Orissa region of the Association, says that though Indian black tiger shrimps are now well accepted in international markets, the aquaculture business remains under pressure. A shift to vannamei could mean higher yields and lower costs of production, he says.