Poor sales recorded last week; prices, already high, to soar further next week

After a lull in sales, leading to a dip in boat landings, fishermen in the city are pinning their hopes on the Sunday market.

A string of auspicious days the past week, when fish and other non-vegetarian food are not consumed in Hindu households, had brought down the prices of commonly-consumed fish, including sankara and nethili.

As a result, fishermen who went out to the seas chose to store the bigger, premium-variety fish in the holds of their boats.

“There is no cold storage facility at Kasimedu harbour. Besides, it is cheaper to keep the fish in ice in the boats. They remain fresh for up to 15 days that way. We hope Sunday’s sales will be good,” said M. Kasi, a fisherman.

According to sources in the fisheries department, the prices are expected to go up further in a week’s time when the 45-day ban on the west coast sets in.

Fish caught in the eastern waters will be sent to Kerala and other places on the western coast. This will hit supply in Tamil Nadu leading to a rise in prices.

Anburose Chitraivel, a fish trader, said around 120 boats landed at the Kasimedu harbour on Saturday. “There were fewer boats on Friday. Only around 10 per cent of the fish-eating population consumes seafood on auspicious days,” he said.

G. Murugan, a resident of Tiruvanmiyur, decided to make the most of the situation. He bought some small-sized vanjiram for Rs. 250 a kilo on Friday, along with some other fish.

“We made vanjiram fry and a curry with a mix of fish at home. After the 45-day ban during which we did not have much seafood, I did not bother with the rates or the size of the fish at the market. I bought whatever was available,” he said.

The prices of surai meen and kerai meen, caught using gill nets, came down by Rs. 10 a kg over the past few days. “These are the only varieties available now. But when the market opens on Sunday, there will be more variety and the rates too will be higher,” said Chitraivel.

The prices of premium varieties like vanjiram and vavval continue to peak due to limited catch. The seas are rough due to heavy winds preventing small fishing boats from venturing deep.

More In: Chennai | News