Arrivals at Puthur market sink to 200-300 kg a day as ban takes a toll

The price of seafood skyrocketed in central region, following poor arrivals from the coastal districts due to the 45-day annual ban that came into effect from April 15.

The annual ban is aimed at preventing fishing activity during the breeding season in the Bay of Bengal. The ban ends on May 29.

The market at Puthur in Tiruchi is one of the major seafood markets in the region. Everyday, the market receives about three tonnes of seafood from the coastal districts in the State and Puducherry. The fish is later sent to various markets in the city and Manapparai, Kulithalai, Karur, and Perambalur towns.

At present, not only the arrivals of most varieties have dwindled, the availability of popular ones is almost nil. Only 200-300 kg of fish is received each day, says to S.Sahayaraj, secretary, Tiruchi Corporation Wholesale Fish Merchants Association.

Only common fish varieties such as Vilaimeen, Neimeen, Vanjeeram are available and their prices have soared. While one kg of vanjeeram fish which was hitherto sold for Rs.350 is currently being sold for Rs.600, the price of vilaimeen has gone up to Rs.300 from Rs.150.

Fish markets in the city at Puthur, Ponmalai, Tiruverumbur, and Gandhi Market used to receive sankara and ayilathamba varieties from Kerala. The prices of these items have shot up to Rs.150 per kg from Rs.50, Mr.Sahayaraj said.

The trend is expected to continue for the next few months as the 45-day ban in Arabian Sea will come into effect once the ban in Bay of Bengal expires on May 29. As seafood is a favourite among Keralites, traders from the State descend on coastal villages in Tamil Nadu to purchase the produce during the ban period in Arabian Sea Thus the prices may not come down even after the expiry of the ban in the State. The markets in Tamil Nadu are expected to receive their regular quota only from the month of August, Mr.Sahayaraj said.