Alappuzha: The fall in fish catch became a major problem for fishermen as well as the merchants in the state. Fishermen in Alappuzha are worried that when the ban on trolling comes into force with monsoon they will be in trouble for a long period.
On Monday, 50 fishing boats from Punnapra ventured into the sea to catch fish. They had spent Rs 9,000 for the round trip and additional amount for fuel. But only one or two fishing boats were successful in their mission. All other fishermen were forced to return in disappointment.
In Alappuzha, most of the fishermen were seen repairing their fishing net as they were not getting a good catch for more than six months.
As only few weeks are left for the trolling ban, the fishermen’s family will struggle in poverty in the coming days.
The mechanised fishing boats have not ventured into the sea due to alert by the meteorological department in the background of cyclone Fani. A few days back, the boats began to venture into sea. But unfortunately, they failed to get a good catch and got only shrimps from the sea.
Workers in the fishing boat also shared their pathetic story as they were affected by cyclone Ockhi and flood. The sharp decline in fish catch became a major challenge for the traditional fishermen who work in small and big boats.
Hike in fish price
There is a great demand for fish varieties with the commencement of Ramzan fasting. Aavoli (White Pomfret) and Chemmeen (prawns) are such fish varieties. Compared to other places, good amount of fish are being supplied to the market from Kollam and Neendakara regions. Fish supply from Tamil Nadu has stopped with trolling ban coming into effect there. Meanwhile, Goa and Andhra Pradesh are supplying fish to Kerala. Due to shortage in fish supply, there is steep rise in prices. According to fish vendors in the coastal street market in Ambalapuzha, a kilo of Vatta (Bluefin trevally) costs Rs 300 and fish varieties like Kola (Garfish), Kilimeen (Pink perch) and Poovalan Chemmeen (sea shrimp) are priced at Rs 200.
Iftar parties without fish
“Fish is a prominent item in our dinner every day. After breaking Ramzan fast, dinner with fish dishes ruled our dining table. But now, the prices have doubled compared to last year. Earlier, we used to cut a fish as two pieces to serve all in family. But today, we started to cut a single fish into four pieces,” said Valanjavazhi native Shaji. According to fishing boat owner KD Akhilanandan, the climate change and rise in temperature levels led to the shortage of fish. “It is for the first time such severe shortage of fish is reported. Earlier, fishermen received good catch from the southern part of sea during summer. But today, the situation changed a lot,” he added.