Ockhi fallout: Record price for sardine, decline in fish availability
Kottayam: Malayali’s favourite fish varieties are not available in most of the fish markets. But there is no compromise on their 'record high' price, especially in Kottayam market. Sardine (popularly known as mathi or chaala) costs about Rs 180, while mackerel (Ayala) is worth around Rs 250 to 300.
Because of Cyclone Ockhi, the arrival of fish from Thiruvananthapuram, Kanyakumari, Neendakara and Alappuzha has almost stopped. Instead, they sell fish which is brought from Mumbai and Karnataka. The local sardines in the market have been replaced by Oman sardines.
The Sabarimala pilgrimage season had caused a steep decline in the price of fish. However, the cyclone has reversed the price trend suddenly.
The price of Sardine, which used to be in the range of Rs 80-100, rose to Rs 180. Mackerel was available at Rs 160 and pink perch (Kilimeen) at Rs 60. Presently, pink perch costs Rs 150.
Even the vendors agree that the fish is of low quality. Many sell the fish kept in ice for days. As far as fish vendors are concerned, they have no clue when the fishermen will start going to the sea again. However, the sellers hope that fresh fish will arrive in view of Christmas and New Year. Majority of the hotels have stopped serving fish with the meals.
As the price of sea fish is on the rise, farm fish and freshwater fish have become more popular. The price of freshwater fish has increased due to the high demand, though farm fish price remains the same. Sardine, mackerel and pink perch are not available in nearly 10 selling points of Matsyafed in the district. There is no hike in the price of fish like GIFT Tilopia and False Travelly (Parava) grown in farms of Matsyafed. They are available at a price of Rs 260 and 340 respectively.
Price of other fish (old price in brackets)
- Carp (Katla) – Rs 150
- Clam meat (Kakka) – Rs 90 (70)
- Pangasius (Koorivala) – Rs 100 (80)
- Halfbeak (Morashu) – Rs 220 (250)
- Barramundi (Kayal Kalanji) – Rs 670 (560)
- Pearl Spot (Karimeen) – Rs 450-500 (400)
- Kumarakom Pearl Spot (Kumarakom Karimeen) – Rs 500 (380)
- Seer fish (Neymeen) – 650 (450)