Shrimp in India

The shrimp sector in India has undergone a rapid transition from Penaeus monodon (black tiger shrimp) to Litopenaeus vannamei (whiteleg shrimp). The introduction of L. vannamei started at an experimental basis in 2009 with some small trials with two exporters that had their own farms. The larger scale commercial introduction, regulated and controlled by the Coastal Aquaculture Authority (CAA), started in 2012. In 2017, more than 550,000 tonnes out of a total production of 600,000 tonnes of shrimp was accounted for by L. vannamei (SEAI, 2018). In 2018, the production area of L. vannamei is expected to be expanded further at the cost of the production area of P. monodon and the share of production of P. monodon will decline further. The CAA managed to control the introduction of L. vannamei in the early years with a strict import procedure of SPF broodstocks from authorized suppliers, strict registration of hatcheries and farms. However, since 2014 the expansion has been more unregulated and problems at the farm level have started to occur. Farmers often depend on low quality seeds, have limited knowledge about good aquaculture practices and disease outbreaks are increasingly observed. The Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture (CIBA) recently announced that is exploring ways to make native species like the Penaeus indicus (Indian white shrimp) and P. monodon commercially competitive again with L. vannamei (Undercurrent News, 2017).

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Production and export trends

Production per species

Source: MPEDA (2017) and 2016-2017 figures from the SEAI (2018).

Production figures for 2016-2017 are based on figures presented at the Indian International Seafood Show 2018 by the SEAI. Only figures for P. monodon

and L. vannamei were shown. Volumes of M. rosenbergii still need to be reported for 2016-2017.

The production of L. vannamei continues to expand, with a 50,000 tonnes increase from 2014-2015 to 2015-2016, and a 100,000 tonnes increase between 2015-2016 and 2016-2017. P. monodon production also showed some growth in 2015-2016, but strongly reduced again in 2016-2017. It is expected that further expansion of L. vannamei will be driven by two factors: Firstly, by farmers that change from P. monodon to L. vannamei, the latter already being responsible for around 95% total shrimp production. Secondly, by land conversion from agricultural lands to shrimp ponds.

While in Andhra Pradesh the transition had already largely taken place, other states were slightly behind with farmers changing from P. monodon to L. vannamei. In 2015-2016 the production area for L. vannamei production almost doubled in Orissa, quadrupled in West Bengal, while it only slightly increased in Gujarat. Nevertheless, in West Bengal and Orissa the only 3% and 49% respectively of the production area is used for vannamei production. Gujarat almost fully transitioned to vannamei production. How much the production area increased in 2016-2017 still needs to be reported.

As farmers have been attracted by the revival of the shrimp industry since the introduction of L. vannamei, farmers consider to convert land, that is currently undeveloped or used for the production of rice or other agricultural products, into shrimp ponds. Land conversion is especially taking place in West Bengal, Orissa and Gujarat. Land conversion has substantial environmental risks including mangrove deforestation and salinisation of drinking water and agricultural land. These factors have to be taken into account when investing in shrimp farming.

Production per state

Source: MPEDA (2017) and 2016-2017 figures from the SEAI (2018)

Note that 2016-2017 figures do not include M. rosenbergii volumes, and that the 2016-2017 for Maharashtra also include volumes from the states

Goa, Karnataka and Kerala.

Semi-intensive shrimp farming is concentrated on India's east coast. While in recent years the largest part of the increase of production took place in Andhra Pradesh, in the coming years the highest potential for further expansion of production will take place in states like Orissa and West Bengal on the east coast, and Gujarat on the west coast. In the year from 2016-2017, the largest growth in production was seen in Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Gujarat, with respective 108,000 tonnes, 2,000 tonnes and 5,000 tonnes compared to 2015-2016.

Shrimp farming in Gujarat has been rapidly expanding and is expected to expand further in the coming years. As the industry is being build up from scratch, new factories are generally build close to farming areas. This results in short transport time and high quality products that can serve the cooking industry e.g. in the European Union.

Previously West Bengal was mainly known for its traditional culture of P. monodon from the districts close to the Bangladesh border. In recent years semi-intensive farming of P. monodon and more recently L. vannamei developed rapidly. West Bengal still has a large potential for further growth and has shown some growth in P. monodon production in 2015-2016. According to SEAI figures in 2016-2017 about 50% of the 61,000 tonnes production was P. monodon. The sector mainly aims to convert agricultural lands into shrimp ponds although this is currently still hindered by state regulations. It is expected that in the coming years these regulations will be eased.

While new shrimp farming areas are being developed, it is crucial for investors to pay attention to environmental risks that might endanger the sustainability of the sector in the long run.

Export Markets

Trade Map (2018), International Trade Centre,

The increase of production between 2011 and 2016 grew on average 22% annually. Most markets, like the US, Vietnam and UEA grew accordingly with the production increase, while others' market share decreased. The US, India's largest export market, more than doubled its imports between 2013 and

2017. The US' import value increase, however, was only 74%

China is on the rise as a purchaser in India, with just over 3,500 tonnes in 2011 to just a little less than 9,500 tonnes in 2017, after a decrease of 3,000 tonnes in 2016.

Exports to Europe decreased in 2017, mainly caused by ​the threat of EU measures against Indian shrimp exports​. A new EU regulation implemented in October 2016 mandates that 50% of all shipments of Indian shrimp must be tested for antibiotics, compared to the earlier 10% (Undercurrent, 2016). The costs of these testing procedures are for the importers. Within the European Union, The Netherlands (12,119), the United Kingdom (14,301 tonnes), Belgium (13,063 tonnes), France (7,478 tonnes) and Italy (4,760 tonnes) were the largest importers in 2017. Together they account for approximately 77% of total EU imports. The Netherlands experienced the most significant growth from 6,700 in 2011 to 16,400 tonnes in 2015, which has decreased to 12,100 tonnes in 2017. After its decrease of 28% (5,438 tonnes) in 2016, Belgium’s import remained stable for 2017.

While the volume of exports continued to increase in 2017, values have dropped dramatically in the last years. The price per ton of export decreased from 11,600 US$ to 8,600 US$ in 2013-2017 representing a price drop of more than 20%. The price crash, which is a global phenomenon, is a result from a continuous oversupply of raw material and overstocking in importing countries.

Export products in 2017 (tonnes)

Trade Map (2018), International Trade Centre,

The share of value added products is limited to a maximum of 5% of total exports in terms of volume and value wise. Although there has been a 24% increase between 2011 and 2017, India is currently not yet in the position to compete for value added products with Vietnam and Thailand. This is also

represented by the increased export volume of raw frozen shrimp from India to Vietnam, which increased approximately with 37% to 139,053 tonnes from 2016 to 2017, and to a lesser extent to Thailand. Vietnam imports raw frozen shrimps for re-processing into value-added products. These products mainly consist of battered shrimp products for frying because for these items double freezing is not a big issue. Vietnam re-exports these products to markets around the world.

While India out competes Vietnam with lower prices for shrimp, this situation might change when the EU-Vietnam FTA comes in to force (expected in early 2018). India currently benefits from lower import duties as it has a GSP status. Once the EU-Vietnam FTA is in force however, import duties on most trade items will be eliminated between Vietnam and the EU, including duties on seafood products (except surimi products and canned tuna, for which tariff rate quotas (TRQs) will apply).


Last updated: 01/10/2018

  • Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC)

    # Farms 39
    # Farms in assessment 49
    # CoC partners 28
    Total volume (MT) 12,266
  • Best Aquaculture Practices

    # Farms 203
    # Hatcheries 26
    # Feed mills 15
    # Factories 86

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Risk assessment

Environmental issues

  • Land degradation due to salinity
  • Biodiversity due to lack of water treatment
  • Mangrove deforestation for shrimp farms

Social issues

  • Land grabbing of agricultural lands
  • Conflicts with fishing communities
  • Decent wages in shrimp processing
  • Female workers rights in shrimp processing

Quality and supply chain issues

  • Use of antibiotics and chemicals by farmers
  • Product manipulation by agents
  • Lack of use of good quality ice at harvest

Species in India

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