Fishermen embarking on short voyages return with a good catch of brown shrimp.

The initial response to the short voyages undertaken by a few boats has given a much needed booster dose to the fishermen.

During the first voyage after the end of the annual conservation-cum-ban period on May 31, the boat operators returned with a good catch. All those who went for short voyages netted brown shrimp in large quanitity. The head-on shrimp (with head and tail) is fetching around Rs.150 per kg in local market. Some are packing it with ice in thermocol boxes and sending it to Chennai, Kochi and Mumbai. It used to fetch a very good amount in the export market till a couple of years ago and the advent of vannamei.

An exotic species, vannamei culture has become big hit among aquaculture farmers due to low investment and heavy returns.

Along with brown shrimp, those who went for short voyages returned with good catch of gulivendulu and pomfret. “With vannamei turning extremely popular, we are not getting much for brown shrimp. The operational cost has gone up manifold. For operators like us, a long voyage of 10 days will itself entail an expenditure of Rs.1.30 lakh including Rs.53,000 on fuel,” said AP Mechanised Boat Operators’ Welfare Association president P.C. Appa Rao.

He said ice shortage had hit them very hard. Of seven ice plants located in the fishing harbour, three plants, which used to get power from the port, have stopped production due to disconnection.

Boat operators say the size of brown shrimp had fallen drastically. “The more in size, it will fetch more the amount in the high-value market. That’s the reason why we are pressing for extending the annual ban period from 45-47 days to 60 days as done in 2010,” Dolphin Boat Operators’ Welfare Association president Ch. Satyanarayana Murthy said. When contacted, Joint Director of Fisheries P. Koteswara Rao said: “We are very happy that the initial response is quite encouraging. ”

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