India has the Seventh largest marine landing in the world with an Extensive Coastline of 7500 km and an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of 2 million sq. km. largely untapped and a 29,000 km stretch of rivers and canals, 1.45 million hectares of reservoirs and 0.75 million hectares of tanks and ponds. The potential of dish production from Indian EEZ is estimated as 3.9 million tones and as against present level of harvesting at 2.87 million tones the production can be increased to 3.37 million tones by intensifying the tapping operation in offshore and deep-sea grounds making use of the modern technologies and techniques. The fish harvesting from inland waters presently is 2.7 million tones and there is good scope for increasing production form the inland resources also. In addition to this the potential of fish production through aquaculture and shrimp farming has also not been tapped to the expected extent .
Traditionally, the vast marine and inland water resources of India have been tapped only by local fishermen to supply domestic demand. Over the last decade or so, the organized corporate sector has become involved in preservation and export of coastal fish. Marine fish found in India include prawns, shrimps, tuna, cuttlefish, squids, octopus, red snappers, ribbon fish, mackerel, lobsters, cat fish and countless other varieties.
Domestic per capita consumption of fish is only 5 kg per annum in comparison to world average consumption of 12 kg per annum. India's per capita consumption is much lower than that of Asian maritime countries (e.g. Japan 86 kg). Sixty per cent of the production of fish in India is from marine sources. However, coastal fishing, i.e. from the continental shelf, constitutes the bulk of the marine catch. It is estimated that only 10% of the marine catch is accounted for by deep-sea resources.
Processing of produce into canned and frozen form is carried out almost entirely for the export market. In all, there are 258 freezing units with a capacity of 2170 tones, 23 canning units with a capacity of 84.5 tones, 131 ice making units with a capacity of 1820 tones, 24 fish meal units with a capacity of 419 tones and 297 cold storage units with a capacity of 20,3448 tones. This sector has also attracted the attention of investors both domestic and foreign and an investment as high as Rs.30,000 million has been approved in the last six years of which foreign investment was around Rs.7000 million.