BERHAMPUR: Fishermen living on the Orissa coast have started to realize that climatic changes have started to affect their fish catch. The yield of ‘oil sardine’ was quite high during the last few months near Ganjam coast. But this fish which is found in abundance in the sea could not be located on the coastline in Balasore district.
According to social activist, Mangaraj Panda, who works among the marine fishermen, similar change in trend of ‘oil sardine’ catch was also found in other parts of Indian coast.
Recently ‘oil sardines’ were found in abundance on Coromondal coast line. But they were not found near Kanyakumari coast where they were caught in large quantities earlier. The Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute has started research into the reasons behind the change in fish habitat and its relation to climatic changes in south Orissa. Mr. Panda said no such in-depth study was taken up yet on Orissa coast.
The traditional fishermen say the recent change in habitat of fish like ‘oil sardine’ is due to rise in temperature of sea water near the coast. Lack of rainfall, rise in temperature increases salinity and temperature of sea water near the coast. Owing to it several breed of fish refrain from coming near the coast, say the traditional fishermen.
It has started to affect the livelihood of traditional fishermen who fish near the coast using their bag nets or drag nets. It is also affecting the fish yield as usually fish come near the coast to breed. When they do not find conducive environment they prefer to shift to other places to breed and live. The traditional fishermen have a simple answer for the lack of ‘oil sardine’ catch on Balasore coast and their good catch on Ganjam coast. They say sea was slightly less warm near Ganjam than Balasore, which may be the reason.