Fishermen fetched better prices for species such as ribbonfish, cuttlefish, shrimps, squid and sardines in the fishing season that just ended. A 57-day fishing ban began on June 15 and will be effective till August 10, marking the end of a fishing season.

In this season, the wholesale price of three fish species, caught from the coast of Dakshina Kannada, increased sharply. The species were cuttlefish, ribbonfish, and shrimps that were caught mainly for export, said Suresh Kumar Ullal, Deputy Director of Fisheries.

Mr. Ullal said ribbonfish, which cost Rs. 60 a kg last season, would fetch Rs. 70 in this season. Cuttlefish, which cost Rs.110 a kg earlier, fetched Rs. 130 this time. The prices of shrimps went up from Rs. 100 to Rs. 130. He said the value of all species had increased because of higher demand from both domestic and export markets, he said. The fishing vessels had used advanced gadgets to cater to the increased demand, he said.

Mangalore Yanthrika Meenugarar Prathamika Sahakari Sangha president Loknath Bolar said there had been a 30 per cent price rise in cuttlefish, squid, and ribbonfish over the prices of the earlier season in the export market. (The cuttlefish and squids were exported to Europe and the ribbonfish was exported to China). He said ribbonfish catch had declined drastically while the squid catch had increased sharply, by three times over the quantity caught last year.

“It is possible because earlier we would get 200 kg to 300 kg of squids. Now, big boats can get 1,000 kg of squid in a single trip,” said Naveen Karkera, Karnataka, president of Karnataka Purse Seine Meenuagarara Sangha (Fishermen's Association).

However, prices of squids had been high. While there had been higher landings of squids in Udupi and Mangalore, there had been less landings of squids in Kochi this year. As there was competition among Kerala-based exporters to honour supply commitments made to customers, prices of squids had been high, he said.

Among fish that was consumed in the domestic market, sardines (Rs. 10 a kg), the major landings in Dakshina Kannada, fetched Rs. 2 more this season than the last. In Mangalore, seer sold at Rs. 550 a kg and pomfret at Rs. 650 a kg. Buyers of the last two named fish were mostly hoteliers, said Mr. Ullal.

Indian mackerel fish catch amounted to 13,311 tonnes this financial year as against 5,977 tonnes last financial year in Dakshina Kannada. Sardines saw a dip this year with 13,255 tonnes while it was 13,562 tonnes last year, according to statistics supplied by the department. Mr. Ullal said the reduced quantity in the catch of sardines was due to natural factors and nothing out of the ordinary.

The quantity of fish catch this year had been 1,34,739 tonnes as against 90,345 tonnes last year – registering a 49 per cent increase. The total value of fish catch from Dakshina Kannada in this financial year was Rs. 560.90 crore as against Rs. 407.63 crore last financial year – a 37.60 per cent rise.

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