With formalin-in-fish a raging controversy, the spotlight is again on exports. The demand from ministers and from many residents is to stop exports so as to save fish for local consumption. Exports are a sensitive issue in Goa with most residents deeply suspicious of it. The general belief is that, marine product exports need to be discouraged as it siphons off prime catch from the market and leaves the residue for locals. This distrust is a contrast from the central policy that is on the whole encouraging to exporters for their potential to earn foreign exchange.
The nine-odd exporting units in the state are licensed operators with developed facilities for processing fish. The fish that is exported are most sardines, cuttlefish, squid, ribbon fish and mackerels. Other than the nine exporting units there are one-two fish farmers who export tiger and medium sized prawns. Prized varieties such as king fish, chonak, modso, pomfret are not exported internationally because the domestic market for it is strong and trawler owners find it lucrative to sell domestically than to exporters.
Goa’s volume of exports over the years is increasing with 2017-18 showing a rise of 10 per cent over the previous year. However the long term trend in exports is inconsistent and the track record in value terms is not too exciting either. The low per unit realization of Goan exporters is due to the lack of value addition, according to the Marine Product Export Development Agency (MPEDA).