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Updated: October 27, 2013 12:59 IST

A bountiful harvest of Ribbon fish in Kerala

Special Correspondent
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Ribbon fish being auctioned away to a seafood exporting company at the Vaddy auction hall of the Tangasseri fishing harbour on Saturday morning. Photo: C. Suresh Kumar
Ribbon fish being auctioned away to a seafood exporting company at the Vaddy auction hall of the Tangasseri fishing harbour on Saturday morning. Photo: C. Suresh Kumar

Each basket of the fish is fetching more than Rs. 5,000 at the auction halls of Tangasseri fishing harbour.

After a gap of three years, rich harvests of the export-oriented seasonal ribbon fish (Trichiurus lepturus) also known as beltfish and largehead hairtail (vaala in Malayalam) have been reported off the Kollam waters since the past three days.

The harvest has put the fishing sector into a jubilant mood.

Each basket of the fish is fetching more than Rs. 5,000 at the auction halls at the traditional Tangasseri fishing harbour.

Good price

At the Neendakara harbour for mechanised boats, the boat owners said that the fish is fetching a price of Rs. 140 to Rs. 150 a kg and that is good price.

In the past this fish, a delicacy, used to appear off the Kollam waters after the monsoon.

Scarcity

But since the past three years, there was a scarcity. It is said that the ribbon fish season starts soon after the Karkakkadi (marine shrimp) season ends. The fish has tremendous export potential and the major exports are to China.

Row of trucks

Even at the Tangasseri harbour for traditional fishermen, a big row of deep freezer trucks from seafood exporting companies are arriving since the past three days to carry away the catch.

Local fish vendors are also getting a share but the price is a bit high, those arriving at the local markets say.

Exported intact

The fish is exported intact, without being cleaned or processed. Apart from China, the other major importers of the ribbon fish are Japan and Thailand. If the silvery pigment on the skin was cleaned and exported, the fish loses its demand in the export market, exporters said. But they were not aware of the use of this pigment by the importing countries.

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