Sustainable fisheries to India

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Trends and opportunities

The market

India has extensive and rich marine resources with a coastline of over 7,500 kilometres. The fisheries sector has enormous revenue potential and livelihood source for fishers and aquaculture farmers.

India has set itself an ambitious target of achieving seafood exports of US$7 billion by 2020 and US$20 billion by 2030, up from US$5 billion in 2016, with aquaculture contributing about 70 per cent of the exports. India currently has less than five per cent of exports in the value added fisheries and the target is to achieve 40 per cent value addition by 2020.

There are a number of deficiencies in fishery practices, leading to inconsistency in quality and stock levels, particularly in wild caught commercial fishery. Poor management and control has led to wastage and a loss of revenue. There is a growing emphasis on commercial aquaculture but lack of technology and process knowledge and shortage of skilled manpower is hampering the growth of commercial aquaculture.

There is growing private sector interest in developing business models across value addition and marketing partnership models to increase capacity and help the sector grow sustainably. Government support is key for growth especially adoption of new technologies.

India wants to shape its aquaculture and capture fisheries industry as a safe, competitive and sustainable source for export and is working on:

  • increasing the contribution of aquaculture as a source of sustainable seafood production
  • decreasing dependence on vennamai shrimp farming and to look at other prawn species as well as fin fish
  • netter utilisation of fresh water, brackish water and open sea resources for aquaculture
  • focusing on near coast aquaculture and developing the potential of inland fisheries
  • adopting new technologies such as RAS, cage culture and processing automation
  • development of skilled labour pool and maintaining stringent quality standards.


India’s fisheries sector offers opportunities for Australian companies in the fisheries sector including:

  • Re-circulatory aquaculture systems - India currently has a need for prawn hatcheries and nurseries using a re-circulatory system rather than having to depend on fresh sea water daily. Poor quality sea water near the coastline is often contaminated with effluent and other runoff from land which poses a biosecurity threat. This is increasingly becoming a major concern for India’s aquaculture industry and a concern for importers too.
  • Fin fish aquaculture - India has high dependence on shrimp aquaculture in terms of volume and value. There is a significant priority on diversifying into fin fish aquaculture in a sustainable manner especially in barramundi, cobia, tilapia, group and trout.
  • Oyster and crab hatcheries - There is a growing interest for commercial production of crabs and bivalves such as oysters. This involves accessing technology, expertise and international capability to partner with Indian organisations.
  • Shrimp feed - India’s seafood export is dominated by shrimp (predominantly the vannamei species). Frozen shrimp contributes more than 65 per cent of exports, by value. There is a significant demand for good quality shrimp feed.

Competitive environment

India has developed institutions that are engaged in research and development to support the development of the fisheries sector but with varying results and outcomes. Commercial shrimp farming was introduced to India in the 1980’s on the basis of a project that involved technical and development support from United States.

With the ambitious targets set by India to increase India’s seafood exports, there is a requirement for increased international expertise and technologies. Australia is well positioned to support the Indian fisheries sector across a diverse range of species. Australia has undertaken a wide range of innovative work in fisheries, resulting in global best practices and efforts towards environmentally sustainable aquaculture practices. India is looking to replicate models similar to Australia for the development and growth of a sustainable and viable aquaculture industry.

Tariffs, regulations and customs

Australian companies have an opportunity to service the requirements of India as a technology / services provider either on a consultancy basis or through a joint venture / collaboration model. There are certain licensing requirements for the import of fingerlings which the Government of India has in place that allows for imports from Australia.

Marketing your products and services

Market Entry

Austrade’s sustainable fisheries management programme in India assists Australian commercial organisations and research institutions to participate in projects and initiatives of the Government of India, the respective state governments, multi-lateral agencies like the World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Austrade can assist Australian organisations in the fisheries sector through:

  • Identifying project opportunities in India in the fisheries sector that matches with Australian capability and where Australia can provide solutions in a commercial environment.
  • Identifying collaborative academic and commercial research opportunities that can be undertaken on a mutually beneficial manner

Links and industry contacts

Marine Products Export Development Authority
National Fisheries Development Board
Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Aquaculture
Seafood Exporters Association of India

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Contact details

The Australian Trade and Investment Commission – Austrade – contributes to Australia's economic prosperity by helping Australian businesses, education institutions, tourism operators, governments and citizens as they:

  • develop international markets
  • win productive foreign direct investment
  • promote international education
  • strengthen Australia's tourism industry
  • seek consular and passport services.

Working in partnership with Australian state and territory governments, Austrade provides information and advice that can help Australian companies reduce the time, cost and risk of exporting. We also administer the Export Market Development Grant Scheme and offer a range of services to Australian exporters in growth and emerging markets.