Fishermen worry over excess fish catch and drop in prices

Artificial shortage of ice has aggravated the situation in Malpe

Fishermen worry over excess fish catch and drop in prices

The fishermen in Malpe are a worried lot over excess fish catch and the abrupt drop in the prices. The fishermen who are undergoing the brunt of loss due to surplus fish catch are also agonized over the artificial shortage of ice to store the fish.

The beginning of the season was indeed profitable, however fish business in the recent past has led to uncertainties, fishermen rued.

Dinesh Kadike from Malpe, a fisherman who also works as middleman in the export of fishes, told Deccan Herald that the shortage of ice is due to excess fishing activities in the area. Fish catching practice is undergoing drastic changes, as the boats that are assigned for longer stay in sea, are now coming back to the shore frequently with boat full of fish. It has created a shortage of ice for the regular fishing boats that venture into sea on a day-to-day basis, he added.

Speed boats rule the roost
The Leyland speed boats, which usually venture into sea for 15 days stay, are now returning within a week with an excess catch.

The boats which venture twice or thrice into sea and indulge into fishing activities in the period gap, usually are designated for the stay. These boats carry nearly one and half tonnes of squids and half tonnes of cuttle fish. The squids cost Rs 140 per kilogram, while cuttle fish are priced at Rs 170 per kilogram. The other varieties of fish that come in abundance are ribbon fish and reed fish. Nearly 300 kilograms of reed fishes and 200 kilograms of ribbon fishes are put on sale by the Leyland speed boats fishermen on each return to the shore. Reed fishes are sold at Rs 100 per kilogram and ribbon fishes are sold at Rs 105 per kilogram.

Fishing boat with 370 hp engine is supposed to be into fishing for more than eight days, but is currently indulged in three day fishing activities only. A single 370 hp engine boat will bring two tonnes of squids and half tonnes of cuttle fish to the harbour.
The price is somewhat similar to the prices of squids and cuttle fishes caught in Leyland speed boats. These 370 hp engine boats later shift to prawn fishing in the month of November.

Ashok Kharvi, who is into fishing business for the last 15 years added that the purse-seine boats are involved in fishing of mackerel, sheat fishes and salmon.  These boats catch nearly three to 40 tonnes of mackerel, salmon and sheat fishes.

Mackerel would cost Rs 85 per kilogram usually and the price at present has come down drastically. He added that sheat fish would fetch Rs 700 per kg at the peak time and at present it costs Rs 150 per kilogram and white pomfret costs Rs 350 per kilogram, which would generally come at Rs 900 per kilogram.

Shortage of ice
The excess fishing of Leyland speed boats and 370 horse power engine boats has created scarcity of ice for other boats which has also triggered the dip in the price of fish. The fishermen are selling fish at throw away prices, as they are not able to get sufficient ice to store the fishes.

The Leyland speed boats and 370 hp engine boats return frequently to the harbour, as once the colour of squids and cattle fishes fade, these fishes are rejected in the export market. Squids and cattle fishes remain fresh with fresh ice for a maximum of four days.
All though Malpe houses enough number of ice plants, the shortage of ice has turned out to be a huge bane to the small-scale fishermen in the region.


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