Sharp decline in availability of sardine, Kerala fisherfolk in crisis
Thoppumpady: Even two weeks after the onset of monsoon, sardines have not reached the coastal line of Kerala putting fisherfolk in the state in distress. Sardines cought during monsoon is the major source of income for the fishermen of Kerala during monsoon.
As trawling ban exists now, only traditional fisherfolk venture into the sea. They can catch the fish from sea as boats are banned. Also the fish fetches good price in the market due to low availability during monsoon. But the fisherfolk are facing a crisis this time after sardines are rarely found in the sea.
Scientific experts assume that availability of sardines are affected with the impact of intense heat in the mid Pacific Ocean in the Arabian Sea. The researchers from Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) in Kochi had found out in a study conducted during March and April that there was an immense decline in the number of sardine eggs in the Arabian Sea.
The scientists said at a meeting held in Kochi that a huge decline in availability of sardines will be witnessed this season. Four lakh tonnes of sardines were collected in the state in 2012 which was reduced to 48,000 tonnes in 2016. The number jumped back to 1.25 lakh tonnes in 2017 and again dropped to 77,000 tonnes in 2018. The heavy rains received last year did not have any impact on sardines.
The decline in the availability of sardines affects the food security of the state as it is a major source of food of the common people. It is an affordable and nutritious food for Keralites. So, sardines have a connection with the health and labour security of the state. It can affect the economy of Kerala as the fish is the major source income of a community.
Trawling ban is imposed in the sea during monsoon in order to protect the fish like sardines. But this seems to have no effect. The experts pointed out that climatic changes caused the present reduction in availability of fish.