Millennium Post

New US fishing regulations hit shrimp export

New US fishing regulations hit shrimp export

Kolkata: The export of sea shrimp from India, including Bengal, to the United States has been hit with the latter imposing total ban on buying these shrimps because they are caught by vessels without turtle excluder devices (TED).

The Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) has written to the Bengal Fisheries department to take measures so that the fishermen install TED in their trawler nets for facilitating shrimp export to the US.

Presently, the shrimps—that are being exported to America—are cultivated in water bodies. But, the large-sized prawns that are usually captured using nets in sea cannot be exported with the US insisting on TED. This has led to dip in exports.

Around 80 per cent of the total volume of shrimps exported from India are cultivated while 20 per cent are captured in seas.

America is not only one of the highest importers of Indian shrimp but also the highest payer too. So, the export window needs to be opened, otherwise the fishermen who depend upon sea fishing for earning their livelihood are bound to suffer.

"We will earn 15 per cent more from exports if the window for export of sea shrimps opens up," said an official of MPEDA.

During 2019-20, around 88,264 tonnes of frozen shrimp were exported from Bengal to other countries. It fetched Rs 4615.44 crore.

Around 25,628 tonnes of sea fish from Bengal, the bulk being shrimp, were exported to the US and the revenue earned was Rs 1508.44 crore.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) had held a meeting with the Ministry of Commerce and asked the latter to take necessary measures in this regard.

The Ministry had asked the states dealing with sea food export to come out with notification making TEDs mandatory in trawler nets.

Apart from Bengal, states like Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamilnadu and Gujarat are associated with sea food export. Bengal has come out with the notification immediately. According to sources, the US has now sought for proof on whether the states are really using such devices and have asked for furnishing details of penal action against the violators by the associated states.

"We are looking into the matter seriously considering the fact that almost 85 per cent of shrimps are exported from our state and only 15 per cent are used for domestic consumers," said an official in the state Fisheries department.

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