‘Fish drought’ worries fishermen

Government’s intervention sought to address crisis

October 05, 2017 01:19 am | Updated 08:20 am IST - KOCHI:

Traditional fishermen operating a Chinese fishing net in Kumbalanghi near Kochi.

Traditional fishermen operating a Chinese fishing net in Kumbalanghi near Kochi.

Fishermen under the aegis of the Matsya Thozhilai Aikyavedi have cited figures released by the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) for 2016-17 to back their claim that a “fish drought” existed off the coast of Kerala. Fishermen have also called upon the government to step in to address the challenge.

“The figures prove that a crisis exists,” said a statement issued by the Aikyavedi.

It added that the State was in the fourth position in the country in terms of fish landings. It had stood first among maritime States till 2012.

In 2013, it was at the third spot.

Production up

Fish production has gone up by 6.6% between 2015 and 2016. During 2016, fish landing went up to 36.3 lakh tonnes from 34 lakh tonnes in the previous year.

The statement pointed out that a rise in landings had been recorded in varieties such as squids, trevally, and ribbon fish. However, there has been a huge drop in the catch of varieties like oil sardines, Indian mackerels, and anchovies. These species are mostly accounted for by traditional fishermen.

Mackerel catch fell from 70,000 tonnes in 2016 to 47,000 tonnes this year. Anchovy landings came down from 39,000 tonnes in 2016 to 35,000 tonnes this year.

The fall in oil sardine catch continued after 2012, the statement added.

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