KOCHI: Indian seafood industry feels that the European Union may introduce some restrictions on imports from the Country ahead of the visit of an expert team from EU for audit of seafood units in November. Some even fear a ban.
Though the visit of EU delegation is a biennial feature, this time it has assumed significance due to rejection of a few Indian seafood consignments of farmed shrimps by EU countries in the last one year mainly because of detection of antibiotics residues.
“Europe unlike other countries has zero tolerance limit for antibiotics,” said Kenny Thomas, a seafood exporter and Former Vice President of Seafood Exporters Association of India (SEAI). “They have raised the scale of sampling from 10% to 50% in the last six months, which could be the reason for more rejections,” he said.
“A ban is not tenable under the WTO laws,” Thomas said. “What we fear is that they may go for 100 % sampling.”
Europe accounts for around 18% of India’s annual marine products exports, which touched nearly Rs 38,000 crore in 2016-17.
The exotic species of Vannamei shrimp grown in farms has been driving India’s seafood exports in the last few years. India’s Vannamei shrimp production is set to touch around 5.5 lakh tonnes this fiscal, up by over 20% from last year, encouraged by good prices in the global market.
Cultured shrimps account for close to 70% of the value of the seafood exports from India. The US is the largest buyer of Indian seafood with a share of 30%, followed by Southeast Asia with nearly the same share.