Post-harvest Processing, Value Addition and Marketing of Lobsters
Seafood is the most commonly traded commodity in the world and the export value of world trade in fish was $136 billion in 2013. Lobster remains a highly prized delicacy the world over. World lobster catch has been steadily increasing over the years and 3,08,926 tonnes were harvested from capture fisheries in 2015. The four main commercial lobster species contributing to 80% of the total world catch are the American lobster (Homarus americanus), the European lobster, H. gammarus, the Norway lobster Nephrops norvegicus and the Spiny lobster Panulirus argus. World trade in lobster has grown steadily with both exports and imports showing an increasing trend. During the past 13 years, world trade in lobster grew substantially, from 1,10, 000 tonnes in 2001 to over 1,70, 000 tonnes in 2014. Total lobster trade in 2014 was valued at US$3.3 billion, almost double that of 13 years earlier. The USA was the largest importer of lobster products worth US$1.29 billion in 2014, (36.2%), followed by China with US$576.7 million (17.4%) and Canada with 334.5 million (10.2%). Lobsters are marketed live, processed and frozen form, and the demand for these products is guided by the consumer preference and price. Chinese and Japanese consumers prefer live lobsters, as seafood in live condition ensures freshness and good quality of the meat. The processed lobster market has also developed considerably in recent years, with companies seeking to make lobster products more easily accessible and attractive to the consumer.
Annual average capture fisheries production of lobsters in India is 1696 tonnes (2000–2016), mainly constituted by the spiny and slipper lobsters. The annual average lobster export from India between 1997 and 2014 was 1417 tonnes valued at US$ 20.1 million. India exports lobsters to 22 countries in Europe and Asia and China followed by UAE are the largest importers from India. Nearly 25 different lobster products including live lobsters are exported from India. Fresh-chilled whole spiny lobster followed by frozen whole spiny lobster form the major export. Recently IQF lobsters (spiny and slipper) have found good export market, especially in Europe. The volume of plate-frozen whole cooked lobster in Japan has drastically come down from 1000 tonnes in 2000 to 361 tonnes in 2014, probably due to increased demand for IQF whole cooked lobster. Online marketing of sea food is creating waves especially in the western countries and India too should take advantage of this to market the lobster products to boost export. The volume of live lobster export have to be substantially increased to fetch the premium price offered to this product in the international market.
KeywordsSeafood Export Marketing Live lobsters
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