River fish replace sea fish in Virajpet

Big catch: Fish being sold in Virajpet.  DH photoThe Kerala border (Makutta) is 27 km away from Virajpet, and from there, Thalasseri in Kerala is 54 km away where sea fish is available. About 10 tonnes of raw fish and sea fish were being supplied to Virajpet from Thalasseri-Kannur every day. There was huge demand for this fish from Nellihudikeri, Siddapura, Ammathi, Palibetta, Gonikoppalu, Kutta and Virajpet.

But, because of the scarcity of raw fish in Kerala coast, the supply has considerably declined in southern Kodagu. The fish price has also gone up. This has forced the vendors to avail sweet water fish from K R Nagara, Gavadagere, Sagara and Hunsur.

The fish vendors get sea  fish from outlets in fish markets in the GP limits at much higher price, but when the fish goes dearer, their profit goes down. This has led them to go for river fish.

A kg of sardine and mackerel, the need of common men, used to cost from Rs 15 to Rs 30. The price of sardine has touched Rs 40 now while the price of mackerel has reached Rs 100- Rs 120. Meanwhile, prawn costs Rs 260-Rs 320. Eventhough people are ready to pay more, there is no supply of sea fish at all.

Fish vendors of Virajpet say though abundant fish is available in Kerala, the vendors there supply fish to Kodagu only after meeting their domestic  demands.  Hence supply of fish is rather meager and hence it costs higher.

Good quality ‘katla’ river fish costs Rs 100 in the market. This was just Rs 60-Rs 70 when there was good flow of sea fish. The market has gone up by 30 per cent now.

However, a good supply of river fish has kept the vendors in a good mood, despite the lack of sea fish.

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