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Chennai oil spill

Oil spill-hit fishermen plan food festival as sales, prices fall sharply

February 06, 2017 01:13 am | Updated February 07, 2017 09:49 am IST - CHENNAI:

Fishermen are being forced to dry most of their daily catch.

Fishermen are being forced to dry most of their daily catch.

With many people afraid to consume seafood after the oil spill off the Kamarajar Port Ltd. on January 28, fishermen are forced to dry most of their daily catch.

Kottivakkam fisherman G. Mohan said 40-odd boats usually went to the sea, but only some 10 were going from his village now. “Those who can manage are staying ashore. Women are not going to the market since there is not much fish to sell and there are no buyers either. We consume a portion of the fish we catch and the rest is made into karuvadu,” he said. Kavala meen is dried to be used as chicken feed.

Fishermen said the oil spill had come at a time when they are yet to recover from cyclone Vardah.

“Those who come to buy fish do so with a lot of hesitation and say they would not give it to their children. This despite the fact that we tell them we eat from the same catch,” said K. Ganesan, another fisherman.

To educate consumers, Chennai Meen Vyabarigal Sangam will hold a fish food festival at Chennai Press Club. P. Chandran, president of the Sangam, said the sale of fish had reduced drastically. “We will bring cooked fish and eat it to show that it is safe. In place of the usual 15 tonnes, only 2-3 tonnes are being sold daily. Boats are not even landing their catch since they prefer to keep the fish on ice rather than sell it at a lower price,” he said.

Sankara fish, which was sold at ₹250 a kilo is now being sold at ₹80. Similarly, Vanjaram that was being sold at ₹700 a kilo now costs ₹350. “Though prices have hit rock bottom, nobody is willing to buy fish,” he added.

Meanwhile, in the clean-up a total of 25 tonnes oil sludge, 27,000 litres of oil-water mix via super suckers and 2.5 tonnes of oil-sand mix were removed from beaches.

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