Not a 'catchy' venture: Over 300 trolling boats converted into scrap in Kerala in last 1.5 yrs

Cleetus Chungath

Representational image (AP photo)

Chavakkad: Poor returns and skyrocketing diesel prices are forcing those involved in deep ocean fishing to wind up the business. According to the All Kerala Fishing Boat Operators Association, more than 300 trolling boats were converted into scrap in the last 1.5 years.

Not just poor returns and fuel price, but also an increase in operational costs is putting the operators in trouble. The cost of boat spare parts, rope, board and nets have increased.

In a day a boat will require 600 litres of diesel which will cost Rs 60,000. The ice for preserving the fish will cost Rs 10,000. It is learnt that the total expenditure will cross Rs 80,000 including the batta for workers.

If the boat fetches fish worth Rs 1 lakh, then the profit will be Rs 20,000. If the profit will be divided between the boat operator and the workers in a ratio of 60:40, each group will get Rs 12,000 and Rs 8,000 respectively.

However, as the return reduces it will lead to losses. Many are scrapping their boats and winding up their business as their debts raise.

According to the fisheries department, there are around 4,500 trolling boats in the state. Government officials maintained that scrapped boats are either old or non-operational. However, All Kerala Fishing Boat Operators Association’s state president Mathias Peter, more than half of the scrapped boats were in good condition.

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