Kochi

Online sale of fish catches on

Mobile platforms are driving fish sales as the lockdown is into the third week, coinciding with a spike in demand for fish in the State for Easter and Vishu celebrations.

This is usually the time when fish lovers expect to buy their favourite varieties a little cheaper than during other times of the year. April-May marks the end of the fish-paddy cycle and pokkali fields are drained to catch fish. It triggers a flood of harvest, bringing down prices a little and providing fresh fish. However, with the COVID-19 lockdown in place, fish harvest has been postponed to the end of the month.

The difficult times are driving people to locally-farmed, genetically-improved farmed tilapia (GIFT), a variety that used to be shunned by purists among fish lovers.

Sethu S. Brown, member of the self-help group Kadappuram, engaged in fish vending, said he had about 300 customers, who used mobile platforms to place orders. They were happy with door delivery as they wanted to avoid crowding and do not want to step out of their homes amid the restrictions imposed.

A senior scientist at Krishi Vigyan Kendra attached to the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Kochi, said online orders were increasing. He said the restrictions on marine fisheries in the early weeks of COVID-19 spread had seen people flocking in large numbers to buy farmed fish from regular vendors.

Ranju Paul in Kothamangalam, who farms GIFT, said the demand had been good during the lockdown. Reports of food safety officials seizing poor quality fish in some parts of Kerala had driven buyers to more reliable suppliers.

The CMFRI scientist said the scarcity of fish had also driven buyers to experiment with tilapia. “GIFT is a tastier variety when compared to the variety of Nile tilapia that used to be farmed earlier,” he said.

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Printable version | Aug 7, 2020 4:46:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/online-sale-of-fish-catches-on/article31319886.ece

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