Santosh Patnaik

Prices of various kinds of fish go up

The layoff is a part of two-month conservation drive

Government urged to reduce the period

VISAKHAPATNAM: Hotels in Kolkota are missing delicacies made of fish exported from Vizag coast, thanks to the layoff observed by the fishing industry.

The layoff, part of a two-month conservation drive, which began from April 15, has triggered an increase in the prices of various types of fish and hit exports to various States from here. Fishing industry sources say on an average, the prices have shot up by 20 per cent. Not only wet fish, even dry fish from Vizag coast is most sought-after in Kolkata and other parts.

On an average, five tonnes of sea fish such as shedding, ribbon fish and ‘kanagarta’ are exported per day to West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Assam.

Two tonnes of shrimp, both brown and white, and two to three tonnes of tiger prawns are also sold outside the State. Tiger prawns are in demand along with the head while in foreign market, only headless are taken.

Two hundred to 300 kilos of sheer (konam) and ‘vanjiram’ and white pamphlets are transported daily in thermo coal boxes to various States. The layoff is not applicable to aqua and pond cultured fishes and those caught by fishermen through nets and traditional boats. Such group is on cloud nine due to the sudden bonanza. In the local market also, there is short supply and several loads of cultured fish are being brought by middlemen from the Godavari districts to cater to the demand.

Ban period

The extension of the ban period to two months from the customary 45 days by the government has caused consternation among 25,000 fishermen who depend on mechanised fishing. While the conservation period is only for 45 days in the West Coast, it has been made two months for East Coast. Several fishermen outfits, including Association of Indian Fisheries Industry, AP Mechanised Boat Operators’ Association and Dolphin Boat Operators’ Welfare Association met here recently and served an ultimatum on the government to reduce the layoff period to 45 days. “Otherwise, we will be constrained to the defy the ban,” says P. Ch. Appa Rao, president, AP Mechanised Boat Operators’ Association.