Several mechanised boat operators are throwing the tuna fish catch back into the water while many boats with huge catch have been anchored waiting for good price at Gilakaladindi harbour as tuna fish prices have taken a steep dip.

The prices, which are being currently offered by the middlemen and exporters’ lobby, have come down by half in some cases when comparison with the prices offered in early August.

“We dumped above 1,300 kg. of the fish into the water on Friday as no exporter preferred it for two days. Around 1,000 kg. of fish was sold to the dry fish units at Rs.8 a kg,” said K. Ramanayya, a boat operator.  

Every exporter and middleman has his own calculations and version to establish why he stopped purchasing large quantity of tuna from the local boat operators. The reasons for falling prices are said to be limited orders in the hands of exporters and slowing down of exports to the international destinations.

On Saturday, fine quality of Yellow Fin Tuna (Big) fetched a maximum of Rs.60 per kg as against Rs.105 in August. “There was no fall in the price of tuna fish even at Chennai or Kochi. Exporters at the harbour do not allow outsiders and thus dictating terms for any fish catch landing here,” allege boat owners. About 25 mechanised boats with a minimum of two quintal of tuna fish are anchored at the harbour for last 72 hours, eagerly waiting for buyers.

Out of the 150 mechanised boats operating from Gilakaladinidi harbour, almost 70 per cent are engaged in tuna fishing and most of them are returning to the harbour with huge catch.

The catch has been excellent and crossed two tonnes per trip on an average. “The boats equipped with gillnets have no lucrative option except inevitably catching the tuna,” said boat owners.

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