Kerala

Encouraging landings cheer fishers as a standoff threatens to disrupt business

The first of the trawlers returned to the Kalamukku fishing harbour on Vypeen island in the heart of Kochi early hours of Monday with substantial catch of shrimp (poovalan and karikkadi) and threadfin bream (kilimeen).   | Photo Credit: Thulasi Kakkat

The first of the trawlers returned to the Kalamukku fishing harbour on Vypeen island in the heart of Kochi early hours of Monday with substantial catch of shrimp (poovalan and karikkadi) and threadfin bream (kilimeen). The first landings have brought cheers to boat owners but the demand by fish merchants and commission agents to raise the auction discount to 16% now threatens to disrupt business.

It has been a practice to offer discount on the auction price to wholesale fish buyers and agents. If the landings is worth ₹100, the actual price received by the boat owner is ₹87. The agents are now demanding that the rate be hiked to 16% with the general business burden suffered by the sellers in the wake of COVID-19 lockdown and subsequent market losses.

V. A. Nazar of All Kerala Fish Merchants' and Commission Agents' Association said on Monday that other harbours were offering similar discounts and that the market situation had changed. He said fish that is landed in the harbour is sold by agents, who too have to sustain their business.

A. M. Shaji, who runs the Kalamukku fisheries harbour, said around 25 boats landed early hours of Monday. Of these, 10 boats had shrimps while the rest had threadfin breams. The shrimps, about 50 tonnes, was immediately bought by exporters while about 200 tonnes of threadfin breams had not been fully sold as the boat owners are unwilling to concede to the demand for higher auction discount.

The shrimp was sold for about ₹90 a kg while threadfin breams fetched about 40 to 50 a kg.

Joseph Xavier Kalapurackal of All Kerala Fishing Boat Operators' Association said the price of diesel had gone up abut ₹24 over a period of one year. Similarly, the cost of other inputs too had risen substantially. The demand for higher auction discount is unsustainable.

A senior marine scientist said that the state government had brought in rules to govern the sale of fish landed at harbours. However, he said that the issues have to be discussed and settled at a mutually satisfactory level with all parties working together in accordance with the spirit of the rules.


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Printable version | Sep 20, 2021 10:45:07 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/encouraging-landings-cheer-fishers-as-a-standoff-threatens-to-disrupt-business/article35674692.ece

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