INDIA : Seafood exporters from India have voiced concern over the new Seafood Import Monitoring Policy (SIMP) regulations of the United States on shrimp and other marine products, since they fear they could experience a backlash on surging exports.
In the sector’s opinion, the move — which will be effective from January 1 — may impact 50 per cent of India’s shrimp production that is headed for the US unless some effective steps have been taken by exporters, The Hindu BusinessLine reported.
Given the issue, the Seafood exporters have called for measures to strengthen the procedures for registration of aquaculture farms and fishing boats, which must be linked to certification to tackle traceability issues that affect clearance by health authorities abroad.
Alex Ninan, Seafood Exporters Association of India (SEAI) President Kerala Region told BusinessLine that unless such documentations are in place, it will affect marketing to system-based supermarkets and retail chains.
In this regard, the SEAI insists that adequate measures for regulatory control of use of antibiotics and other prohibited substances by aquaculture farmers are needed.
The entity claims that initiatives of the Andhra Pradesh government in this regard should be supported by the Ministry and implemented across India.
As another key measure, the SEAI stresses the need to set up a Nucleus Breeding Centre (NBC) for specific pathogen-free shrimp brood-stock.
The entity states that given that India’s vannamei shrimp production is expected to exceed a million tonnes by 2020, the creation of an NBC would facilitate domestic availability of brood-stock, which is critical for the sustenance and growth of the sector.
At the same time, the seafood sector association insists that high import duties on marine products in China, South Korea, and South-East Asian markets should be reduced through trade discussions.
The exporters body was also critical of the Korean authorities’ decision to mandate new tests including White Spot Syndrome even for sea shrimps leading to 100 per cent rejection. Because of this, exporters were not able to take advantage of the 10,000-tonne duty-free exports.
According to Ninan, there is a tremendous opportunity to make India a processing hub as Vietnam, Thailand and China have done to generate more than billion dollar of exports, and job opportunities.
However, the leader recognised that the need of the hour is a favourable procedure for importing raw material and ingredients for processing in India and re-export.