The export of sea shrimp to the US from the coastal states, including Bengal that has been stalled since 2018-19 may start soon with an expert team from the US presently camping in Cochin to inspect whether TED (turtle excluder devices) has been installed in fishing nets. The US had banned the export of sea shrimp from India stating that these shrimps are caught by nets without TED. ICAR-CIFT (Central Institute of Fisheries Technology) has designed fishing nets fitted with TED as per directions from the US. A team from the state Fisheries department is expected to reach Cochin by December 24 for a hands-on presentation of the effectiveness of TED fitted nets.

The expert team from the US which reached Cochin on Monday will be staying till February 25. Modifications have been made in the TED fitted net as suggested by the expert team and the state Fisheries department is keeping its finger crossed. A senior official from the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) from the Kolkata office has already left for Cochin on Tuesday.

MPEDA is a statutory body established in 1972 under the Ministry of Commerce & Industry for the promotion of marine products export from India.Presently, the shrimps that are being exported to America are those that are cultivated in water bodies but the large sized prawns that are usually captured in nets at sea cannot be exported with the US insisting on TED while capturing sea fishes so that turtles are not captured in their nets. 80 per cent of the total volume of shrimps exported from India are cultivated while 20 per cent are captured in seas. America is not only one of the highest importers of Indian shrimp but one of the highest payers too.

The coastal states, including Bengal, have been trying their best to open the export window for enhancement in the livelihood of the farmers. Apart from Bengal, states like Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat are associated with sea food export. According to sources, earnings from sea food export will rise by at least 15 per cent, if the window opens up. In Bengal, 85 per cent of shrimps are exported and only 15 per cent are used for domestic consumers.