India with a long coast line of 8129 Km, 2 million sq. Km of Exclusive Economic Zone and 1.2 million hectors of brackish water bodies, offer vast potential for development of fisheries. Against an estimated potential of 3.9 million tones from marine sector, only 2.6 million tones are tapped. Fishing efforts are largely confined to the inshore waters through artisanal, traditional and mechanised sectors.
Kerala is one of the most important maritime states in the country, contributing significantly to the Indian Seafood Industry. There are about 287 seafood exporters in Kerala, with 124 Processing plants, 169 Cold Storages, with a total storage capacity of 23086.50, which are the highest figures in the country. About 90% of the present production from the marine sector is from within a depth range of up to 50 to 70 meters and remaining 10% from depths extending up to 200 meters.
In the national scenario, export of marine products set an ever time record of 612641 tons valued Rs.8363.53 crores equivalent to US$ 1852.93 million during 2006-07. The quantity of export increased by 20% and value in rupee by 15% and about 13% in US dollar realization.
Kerala accounted for 108616 ton valued at Rs. 1524.12 crores sharing 17.7% in quantity and 18.2% in value of marine export from India.
The major marine products exported from the State include Frozen Shrimp/ Prawn/ Fish/ Cuttle Fish/ Squid, Dried items like Shrimp/ Shark Fins/ Cuttle Fish bones/ Fish Maws, Canned Shrimps/ Fish, Lobster, Crab, Clam, Mussel, Squid tubes, Aquarium fishes, Fresh fish, etc.
Frozen items like Shrimp, Fish, Cuttle Fish and Squid constitute 90% of marine export from the State. The European Union is the largest export market, accounting to more than 50% of the total marine exports. China (9.4%) is the single largest market followed by USA (7.3%).