Seafood Exporters Association of India (SEAI) was incorporated with the main objective to protect and promote the interest of the companies engaged in the seafood business and to develop the international trade of seafood from India.SEAI has its corporate base in Cochin in Kerala and eight regional offices in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Gujarat, orissa, West Bengal, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.
The Seafood Export Industry in India is over 50 years old and was initiated when the first shipment of frozen shrimp was sent from the port of Cochin in 1953 by Mr.Madhavan Nair owner of Cochin Company.Initially, canned shrimp exports were mainly focussed and then due to non-availability of suitable cans in the country, the industry was shortly compelled to move to exports of frozen shrimp. The export of other varities of Fish, Squid, Cuttlefish, Octopus, Crabs, Clams and Mussels started later in the late 1960′s.
The Indian Seafood Industry today is on a totally different footing as to what existed in the late sixties.India has taken a major stand in the Global Seafood Market and our seafood is one of the biggest foreign exchange earners.Today we have world class seafood factories following quality control procedures meeting the most stringent of international standards.Though shrimp continues to dominate our export basket, the Indian Seafood Industry has diversified its product range and its markets.For many years, Japan was India’s largest export market but in the last two years United States has emerged as India’s leading export market.We export mainly basic raw material for reprocessing to Japan whereas our exports to the United States consists of value added products for direct use in the American Food Service Industry and for retail sale in the supermarkets. Our seafood exports now include crabs, lobsters and other kinds of fish.
Our seafood exports have surged each year from the late sixties right up to the late nineties when we crossed our US$1.3 billion per annum in exports.We reached a peak export level of US$1.3 billion per annum in 2001 and subsequently the industry has stagnated due to recession and the after effects of Tsunami.
This implausible export growth of the seafood sector with very little assistance from government is a tribute to the enterprise and resilence of the small Indian enterpreneur.The Indian Seafood Industry is compromised mainly of small and medium size family concerns and large corporate companies have almost no presence here.Even those that ventured withdrew due to an inability to manage the environment and dynamics of tyhe industry.Very recently with the consolidation and systematization of the industry, large corporate companies have begun to invest in the Indian Seafood Industry.
The booming market of India’s seafood sustains and support the entire fisheries sector of the annual 25,000 crore Indian Fisheries sector of which 7000 crore is exported.It is the value realized from exports that gives our fishing communities a sustainable steady income.What needs to be noted is that of the 7000 crores exports, more than 50% is for shrimp aquaculture.Today the Ministry of Commerce and the Marine Product Development Authority work very closely with the industry for the growth of India’s seafood exports.
Over 150 processing facilities have received European Union approval from the existing 350 processing facilities in India.The factories are located in 20 clusters along the East and West Coast of India and we need to develop these clusters into international seafood processing hubs.With internationally recognized processing facilities, competitively priced skilled labour and raw material, India is now on the fast track to produce and supply valued seafood products in convenience packs by adopting the latest technologies and by tapping the unexploited and under exploited fishery resources.Seafood Exporters Association of India is focussed on providing better technology, food safety assurance, logistics and marketing to create a competitive edge for the Indian market.SEAi is in the lookout of establishing various infrastructure facilities in various coastal states like landing centres, water treatment plants, common effluent treatment plants etc.