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Windfall for fishermen

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Good catch: Fishermen harvesting the shrimp shoal at the Neendakara harbour, and (inset) the harvested ‘kadal shrimps’. –
Good catch: Fishermen harvesting the shrimp shoal at the Neendakara harbour, and (inset) the harvested ‘kadal shrimps’. –

Staff Reporter

Rich haul of ‘poovalan konju’ at Neendakara

KOLLAM: The Neendakara Fishing Harbour wearing a deserted look for the past several days on account of the monsoon trawling ban turned suddenly alive by noon on Thursday when a massive shoal of shrimp entered the estuary and began swarming into Ashtamudi Lake.

Local fishermen who rushed to get a share of the windfall identified the shoal as ‘kadal shrimp’ (Metapenaeus dobsoni), known locally as ‘poovalan konju.’

The trawling ban being in force, only a small portion of the boon could be exploited. Fishermen stood on the wharf of the harbour and used cast nets to harvest the shoal.

Around 25 fishermen were seen working hard on the cast nets to harvest the maximum from what appeared to be an endless ‘poovalan’ shoal.

Within two hours each fishermen harvested about 15 kg to 20 kg of shrimp. They could only net what came towards the wharf.

Good profit

The catch was sold in the range of Rs.200 to Rs.250 a kg, and most of the fishermen got an average earning of Rs.5,000 each. Gauging the movement of the shoal, the fishermen said the shoal was heading for Ashtamudi Lake.

That would prove suicidal since ‘kadal shrimps’ cannot survive in water where salinity is low.

The phenomenon was witnessed only at the harbour area. Traditional fishermen fishing off the Neendakara harbour had no inkling of the harvest inside the harbour.

Migration course

The shoal could have been on a migration course and turned towards the estuary on getting signals on the presence of micro nutrients, a marine biologist said.

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