After cyclonic storm Fani, comes bonanza for fishermen

Landing of tuna in large numbers near shores of Visakhapatnam, Kakinada surprises them

Tuna, coming in shoal towards North Andhra Coast for the past few days after the extremely severe cyclone Fani battered parts of Odisha, West Bengal and Bangladesh, has come as a big surprise for traditional fishermen.

Experts say turbulence in the sea in the Fani-affected areas, submergence of fresh water from brackish water lagoon Chilka and lull in fishing by mechanised boats during the breeding season lasting 61 days from April 15 could be the reason for large-scale landing of tuna near the shore areas of Visakhapatnam and Kakinada.

‘In search of food’

State coordinator for MPEDA NetFish P. Hanumantha Rao told The Hindu on Tuesday that with mechanised boats abstaining from venturing into the sea during the conservation period and fall in sea temperature following rain triggered by the recent system in the Bay of Bengal, tuna fish in large numbers were coming in search of food like jelly fish, squid, cattle fish, shrimp, crab, algae and photosynthetic organisms.

The traditional fishermen, who go on sailing in catamaran and other non-motorised beach landing crafts and some fishermen by fitting their boats with motors illegally are hitting jackpot. They are able to catch yellowfin tuna, which is in high demand in export market, skipjack and dogtooth tuna, which are being bought by agents from Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Yellow fin are caught in 10 to 15 kg size.

Skipjack are captured with a weight of three to four kg and dogtooth weighing up to two kg. Most of the tuna netted by them are juveniles.

Confirming this, National Fisherfolk Forum general secretary Arjili Dasu said the tuna depending on their size was fetching ₹120 to ₹130 as against normal price of ₹60 to ₹70 per kg.

They are sold for a premium due to short-supply during the annual ban period, which is being enforced in the entire East Coast.

Migratory species

Tuna, a highly migratory species, fetches better price if it is transported abroad alive or processed and sent in a hygienic way.

However, this is a big casualty in Andhra coast as, for want of processing and storage units, they are cut with blunt weapons and packed in ice boxes for sale to middlemen engaged in supply in consignments to the exporters.

When contacted, Joint Director of Fisheries P. Koteswara Rao said due to climatic change, tuna landing in shoal were sighted frequently. During winter months of November to February, due to lowering of temperature, they are seen in large numbers near Visakhapatnam and Pudimadaka and Uppada near Kakinada during May.

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Printable version | Feb 21, 2020 3:36:43 AM |

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