Maharashtra: Fish prices rise amid coronavirus outbreak

Coronavirus: Fish prices rise amid COVID-19 outbreak in Maharashtra

With rumours about chicken being the source of COVID-19, the prices of fish have shot up exponentially over the past few days in the entire Mumbai metropolitan region (MMR) amid rise in COVID-19 cases and scare involving eating chicken.

Fish variety from the Arabian Sea, rivers and inland fisheries - have all seen a rise.

Over Saturday and Sunday, there was severe crowd in the fish market.

"The issue is manifold...last year, the monsoon along the Konkan coast was extended and the weather was rough. The fisherfolk were the worst sufferers. For the last three months, the fish catch has come down because of use of purse seine nets and LED lights by trawlers," said Damodar Tandel, the president of Akhil Maharashtra Macchimar Kriti Samiti.

"Because of culling of chicks and rumours, people are going for fish meals," Tandel told DH.

A homemaker bases in Mumbai's suburb of Vasai, Tista Bhowmick, said: "Chicken prices have come down to Rs 100 to 120 per kg. Eggs are around Rs 50 to 55 a dozen. Mutton prices hovers around Rs 550 per kg. In this kind of a scenario, when people are not eating chicken and mutton is on higher side, people are going for fish."

There are more than 20,000 to 22,000 fishing boats in Konkan coast districts of Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri, Raigad, Thane, Palghar and Mumbai. Only 50 per cent of these are mechanised boats.

"In the last few days, prices of sea fish have shot up 25 per cent," said Monika Koli, a fisherwomen from MMR.

A pair of pomfret - a bit bigger than the size of a palm - was selling between Rs 1,000 to 1,200. Small size Mackeral and Bombay duck or bombil are between Rs 100 to Rs 200 per four or five pieces. A delicacy, Surmai, was selling over Rs 700 for a piece bigger than a feet.

"Rohu and Katla, both from inland fisheries, was hovering between Rs 200 to 300 per kg depending on the size," said fishseller Saddam.

The add to the problem, the government had ordered an crackdown on fisheries of Thai mangur fish or Thai catfish in February because these have been found to be carcinogenic and threat to biodiversity following the orders of National Green Tribunal.

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