As per the data provided in ‘Handbook on Fisheries Statistics’ published by Department of Fisheries, the Fish production in India increased by over 75% between 2009-10 and 2019-20. While Inland fish production increased by over three times during this period, Marine fish production is up by around 30%.
As per an outlook report by Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations (FAO), the consumption of Fish continues to increase and is projected to increase 15% by 2031 compared to the base period 2019-2021. Fish are an important source of macro & micronutrients and even small quantities have a significant positive nutritional impact. Hence, they play a crucial role in nutrition and global food security.
In line with the consumption side demand, the production of Fish & other aquatic food has increased over the years. Countries with coast lines and larger inland water resources traditionally have a larger share of the global fish production. India ranks among the leading countries in fish production. In fact, India ranks next only to China in the inland Fish Production and is among the top-10 marine fish capturing countries.
As per Department of Fisheries, the Gross Value-added of fisheries sector accounts for more than 7% of Agriculture GDP. In this story, we analyse the trends related to Fisheries in India. Data provided in ‘Handbook on Fisheries Statistics’ published by Department of Fisheries is considered for analysis.
77% increase in Fish production over 10 years, contributed largely by increase in Inland fish production
The total Fish production in India during 2019-20 was 141.64 lakh tonnes (LT) of which 104.37 LT was from Inland fish production and 37.27 LT was from Marine fish production.
Inland fish production refers to the fishing and fish production in inland waters i.e., freshwater bodies. Marine fish production refers to the fish caught in saltwater sources i.e., seas & oceans.
India’s total fish production has seen a steady increase over the years. The increase is more significant over the recent decade. During 2009-10, the total fish production in India was 79.98 LT. In the ensuing 10 years, the annual fish production increased to 141 LT i.e., increase of 77 %. This increase is largely contributed by the increase in the Inland Fish production. During 2000-01, the annual fish production through Inland and Marine sources were at par with each other. The Inland Fish production was 28.45 LT, while the annual marine fish production was 28.11 LT. The annual Inland fish production has witnessed a higher growth rate compared to the marine fish production. The growth is more evident in the last decade.
By the end of 2009-10, the inland fish production was 48.94 LT, while marine fish production was 31 LT. In the ensuing 10 years, the annual inland fish production more than doubled to 104.37 LT while there has only been a marginal increase in the annual marine fish production.
Gujarat, Tamil Nadu & Andhra Pradesh are the leading states in Marine Fish Production
India’s coastline is around 7.5 thousand Kilometres. There are 9 coastal states in India – Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha & West Bengal. The UTs of Daman & Diu, Puducherry along with the island UTs of Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep also have a coastline. Gujarat has the longest coastline followed by Andhra Pradesh & Tamil Nadu. This is reflected in their marine fish production, with these two states being the leading states.
In 2019-20, the marine fish production of Gujarat was 7.01 LT, which is around 19% of All India Production. The production from Tamil Nadu was 5.83 LT and Andhra Pradesh was 5.64 LT. West Bengal & Odisha have a lower marine fish production compared to the other coastal states. The share of these states among the marine fish production has largely remained unchanged over the years.
Andhra Pradesh has the major share of Inland Fish production, followed by West Bengal
Inland fish production is spread across multiple states. However, there are few states which make a significant contribution towards India’s Inland Fish production. Andhra Pradesh is the largest contributor towards Inland Fish production. In 2019-20, the production in AP was 36.1 LT, which is nearly 35% of the total inland fish production in India. This is more than twice the next state in the list i.e., West Bengal, whose production in 2019-20 was 16.2 LT.
In the 2018-19 as well, the production in AP was 33.9 LT which was also 35% of the India’s total inland fish production. The growth in Inland Fish production highlighted earlier, is contributed by Andhra Pradesh to a large extent. Bihar, Uttar Pradesh & Odisha are other states which contribute significantly to Inland Fish Production. A correlation between the major river systems in India and the States with higher inland fish production can be observed. Major Carps which include species like Catla, Rohu, Marigal, etc. form the major share of the Fresh water fish caught, with both AP & West Bengal being the major states where these fish are caught.
The quantity Fish exported has doubled over 10 years, while the value increased four-fold
India is the 6th largest exporter of Frozen Fish in the world, although its standing in other fish exports is not among the best. In 2019-20, the total quantity of fish products exported by India was 12.9 LT, while the value of these exports was Rs. 46.6 thousand crores.
In 2009-10, the quantity of fish exported was 6.78 LT. In the ensuing 10 years the total quantity of Fish exports almost doubled. During this period, the value of fish products being exported increase four-fold. During 2009-10, the value of fish exported was Rs. 10.05 thousand crores, which increased to Rs. 46.6 thousand crores in 2019-20. In terms of USD, the value of fish exports in 2019-20 was 6.7 billion USD.
Frozen Shrimp form the major share of Fish Exports of India
As highlighted, India is one of the global leaders of Frozen fish exports. Its exports form around 4% of global frozen fish exports. Frozen fish and other aquatic foods form a major share of India’s fish exports compared to live fish. Among the Frozen fish products, Frozen Shrimp constitute the major portion.
As per the data published in ‘Handbook on Fisheries Statistics’, the total quantity of Frozen Shrimp exported by India is 6.52 lakh mega tons. The value of this is Rs.34.1 thousand crores. Frozen fish is the next in the list of fish exports with 2.23 lakh mega tons of exports. Other important Frozen products include – Frozen Cuttle Fish & Frozen Squid.
India also exports other categorised of Fish products. 84.4 thousand mega tons of Dried items were exported in 2019-20, while the volume of Chilled items exported were 21.2 thousand mega tonnes. Comparatively, the volume of exports of Live items were only 7.2 thousand mega tons. The composition of exports even in the earlier years largely remained the same, with Frozen Shrimp forming a major part of the exports by India.