The boat owners spend an average of Rs.2 lakh per long voyage, and most of them are not able to meet their operational expenditure.

Adverse wind conditions and breeding grounds have dampened the spirit of mechanised boat operators, who returned after end of their first long voyage during the current season.

Three-fourth of 600-odd mechanised boats which went on voyage for 14 to 15 days after the annual conservation ban came to an end on May 31 have returned with not so encouraging catch. Most of them are not able to meet their operational expenditure.

“We have invested heavily on diesel and ice and resumed fishing with a lot of expectation. Though those (motorised boats) who returned after their short voyage for 3-4 days returned with good catch, our experience is quite disappointing,” Mylipalli China Rao, a boat owner, told The Hindu on Sunday.

Continuous breeze in opposite direction made navigation difficult for many. “On an average, because of adverse wind conditions, we had to incur an additional expenditure of Rs.30,000 on diesel as well as suffer loss of time,” said Ch. Satyanarayana Murthy, president of Dolphin Boat Operators’ Welfare Association.

Fishermen set out on their voyage towards Puri and Konark in Odisha due to not so good breeding grounds at Kalingapatnam and Bhavanapadu. Gangavaram had lost its charm long ago.

On an average, for a long voyage, the boat owners had to spend Rs.2 lakh – a major amount on about 3,000 litres of diesel. They had to procure ice one week in advance anticipating severe shortage due to power problem.

The ratio of tiger prawn out of the total catch was stated to be below five per cent. Though the pink/brown shrimp received by them was good but the size dropped this time. The demand for pink/brown shrimp (headless) is fetching around Rs. 250 per kg against last year’s price of Rs.300.

This is mainly due to increasing demand in export market for ‘vannamei’ – the culturing of exotic variety white shrimp known for low investment and high returns.

“So far our experience is disappointing. We hope our catch will improve if there is good monsoon and favourable wind conditions,” said P.C. Appa Rao, president of AP Mechanised Boat Operators’ Association.

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