With more than 1.2 billion people, India is the second-most populous country in the world and seventh-largest country by area. The country has 29 states and seven union territories. It is a multi-lingual and a multi-ethnic society and operates a multi-party parliamentary democracy system. India has a long and diverse coastline bordered by the Arabian Sea on the south-west, the Indian Ocean on the south and the Bay of Bengal on the south-east. The northern part of India shares borders with, from west to east, Pakistan, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and Bangladesh. In the Indian Ocean India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Key exports are engineering goods, petroleum products, gems and jewellery, agriculture products and textiles, next to IT and business outsourcing services. The west coast of India has a relatively rocky shoreline, while the east is mainly estuarine, with deltas of rivers such as the Godavari river, Krishna river, and Kavery river. West coast cities like Mumbai, Kerala and Tuticorin, have a large fishing fleet, while generally smaller fishing fleets are located at the Bay of Bengal from Chennai, Vizagnapatnam and Kolkata. The transition zone between river environments and maritime environments on the east coast is an excellent location for both fresh and brackish water aquaculture.

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In India
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Species in India

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Willem van der Pijl
Willem van der Pijl

India's seafood sector

Indian fisheries and aquaculture is a significant sector with high growth rates and plays a major role in terms of employment and food production, the latter providing nutritional security. Globally India scores fourth in fisheries production, after China, Indonesia and the United States. In terms of aquaculture India ranked third, after China and Indonesia (FAO, 2017). Fish and fish products are the largest group in agricultural exports of India, accounting over 1 million tonnes or over US$ 5 million. Seafood composes 10% of the total exports of India and nearly 20% of all agricultural exports. Over 50 different types of fish and shellfish products are exported to 75 countries around the world. In total India produced 10.1 million tonnes of fish and shrimp in 2015, as reported by FAO. Half of this is captured and the other half is produced by aquaculture. Over 88% of the fish production comes from the inland sector. Nearly three quarters of the fish production derives from marine fisheries, the remaining 28% from inland fisheries. The inland aquaculture sector is significantly increasing. According to the statistics reported by the National Development Fisheries Board fisheries and aquaculture contribute over 1% to India’s total GDP and just over 5% to its agricultural GDP. India has over 240 thousand fishing crafts operating in the coast, six major fishing harbours, 62 minor fishing harbours and 1,511 landing centres. The sector employs more than 14 million people, of which 3.9 million are fisherfolk.

Aquaculture and fisheries production

Source: FAO (2017)

While the production from fisheries has been relatively stable, inland fisheries production has declined, and production from marine fisheries increased. The biggest increase of fish and seafood production is realized from

aquaculture. Between 2010 and 2015 the culture from freshwater fish increased with 28%; an increase of 7% compared to 2014. The culture of marine fish, which showed over a 480% increase from 2010 to 2013, remained stable at 900,000 tonnes for the years 2013 to 2015. The production of crustaceans increased with 380% compared with 2010, and has shown a growth of around 30% for the years 2013 to 2015. In the coming years, production from wild fisheries is expected to remain stable while production from aquaculture is expected to further increase.

Species composition in 2015 (tonnes)

Source: FAO (2017)

Within cultured freshwater fish the most important products are carps. However growth is mainly accounted for by tilapia and pangasius. The increase of production of cultured marine fish is mainly taken account for by species such as seabass. The increase of production of cultured crustaceans is fueled by the introduction of L. vannamei shrimp which substitutes the production of the less productive P. monodon shrimp.

Export markets

Trade Map (2017), International Trade Centre,

With the increase of production that resulted from the introduction of L. vannamei, export value reached the US$ 5.5 billion in both 2014 and 2016. This value is reported to be topped as India's seafood export value is reported to hit an all-time high for the 2016-2017 fiscal year, reaching US$ 5.78

billion (The Hindu BusinessLine, 2017).

While earlier the EU was the most important market, now the United States and nearly Vietnam have taken over: the United States as consumer market and Vietnam as importer of shrimp for reprocessing into value-added products. Within the European Union, Spain, the United Kingdom, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands are the most important markets.

Export products in 2016 (000 US$)

Trade Map (2017), International Trade Centre,

Crustaceans are by far the most important export product value-wise, but are also gaining importance in terms of volume. While crustaceans only accounted for 31% of the total export volume in 2012, this percentage rose to 43% in 2016. Crustaceans accounted for 383,000 tonnes in 2015 and

427,511 tonnes in 2016. The remaining export volume is dominated by marine fish (mackerel, tuna and some other species) and molluscs (cuttlefish and squid), which take account for respectively 243,000 and 168,000 tonnes in 2015 and 268,437 and 178,813 tonnes in 2016. Fish is mainly exported to Asian countries, while molluscs are mainly exported to Spain, Vietnam and Italy.


Last updated: 01/01/2017

  • Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC)

    Species Number of Farms Total Volume (MT)
    Shrimp 9 2,880
  • Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP)

    Species Number of Farms Total Volume (MT)
    Shrimp 156 24,750
Trade and Investment regulations

India scores 130 out of 190 on the World Bank its Doing Business In Index. To encourage investments in its key economic sectors and to attract more domestic and foreign investment Prime Minister Modi has launched the ‘Make in India’ initiative which provides investors with intelligence and many facilities to ease doing business in India. According to Prime Minister Modi: ‘ ‘Make in India’ is the biggest brand India has ever created’. This section provides you with all up to date need to know information about trading and investing in seafood in India. The topics that are covered are:

  1. GSP, anti-dumping duties and Free Trade Agreements
  2. Setting up a representative or branch office
  3. FDI regulation and setting up a subsidiary company
  4. Taxes and duties
  5. Custom procedures
  6. Arbitration law
  7. Cultural do’s and don’ts

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Sector support programs

Aquaculture and fisheries improvement projects

  • Indian Shrimp

    WWF has partnered with several companies and a community in Andhra Pradesh to start working towards ASC certification with three large farms and 203 small scale farms.

    World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
  • Development of Integrated and Sustainable Aquaculture (DISA)

    Solidaridad has partnered with IFB Agro to improve the performance of farmers in the IFB supply chain. Solidaridad will train around 2,000 shrimp farmers. Some of the farmer groups will be certified against ASC and BAP standards.


Species in India


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