No takers in export market for brown and white shrimp captured by them

Falling catch and no takers in export market for the brown and white shrimp captured by them have caused deep depression among the mechanised boat operators.

What has come as a rude shock to them after they commenced their first voyage on June 1 is the fact that the seafood exporters expressed their disinclination to buy brown and white shrimp from them. Enquiries revealed that this is due to growing popularity of vannamei shrimp, cultured in Bhimavaram and other areas by bringing imported seed.

All those aquaculture farmers are showing interest in vannamei, which requires less investment and has good demand in export market due to its affordability compared to brown and white shrimp.

Exporters used to purchase brown shrimp (headless) at Rs.300 per kg and white shrimp at Rs.340 per kg. “After popular rise in its culture, vannamei is available for the exporters at Rs.210 to Rs.220 per kg,” an exporter said.

Sources told The Hindu that during the first voyage almost all the boat owners suffered a loss of Rs.50,000 as there were no takers among exporters for shrimp caught by them. In retail market, they are forced to sell brown shrimp at Rs.200 per kg and Rs. 240 to Rs.250 for white shrimp per kg. Each boat gets around 200 to 350 kg of shrimp.

The trawling industry is already in the red. Most of them have diversified into tuna long-liners. Some trawlers are gathering dust near the fishing harbour and their owners are waiting for clearance to get them dismantled and sold in scrap market.

“As the situation is worsening, the boat owners have taken decisions on their own not to go for shrimp anymore,” said Ch. Satyanarayana Murthy, president of Dolphin Boat Operators’ Welfare Association.

Instead of shrimp-centric approach, most of the boat operators are now going for black pomfret, mekanel, ribbon fish, crab, cattle fish, gulivendalu, and other miscellaneous fish.

The maintenance cost of each voyage for 10 days is costing them around Rs.1 lakh to Rs.1.15 lakh as the diesel cost itself has gone up to Rs.44 per litre.

The ice cost this time has increased from Rs.850 to Rs.1100 per tonne due to frequent power cuts.

Pollution has caused sharp decline in catch.

“All these factors have made our life miserable,” remarked Nooka Appalaraju, a fisherman.

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