Come April 15, the 45-day fishing ban will come into force, leaving almost all the 800 mechanised boats anchored at the fishing harbour in Kasimedu.
Through this harbour, Chennaiites get about 150 tonnes of fish every day and this will drop considerably as the traditional modes of fishing employed by other boats will not be able to match this, according to South Indian Fishermen Welfare Association president K Bharathi.
It is during this time of the year that boat owners undertake major repairs to their boats, especially to the engines. The fishing nets they use round the year will also be repaired during the ban period. The ban will take the fizz out of the bustling Kasimedu Fishing Harbour and allied businessmen like ice merchants, diesel supply shuttle operators, fish shuttle providers and mineral water suppliers will experience dull sales. Some of the fisherfolk who work in mechanised boats will go looking for jobs in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, while others would prefer to spend the time with their families.
The fish vendors catering to marine food lovers at Kasimedu will look for other markets in the city where fish from other States is sold. The three markets – Chinthadripet, Koyambedu, and Maduravoyal – will cater to hotels through their regular suppliers who do not mind the dip in margin considering the rise in business. The catch at Kasimedu gets used up by the fisherfolk themselves.
D Shakila, a fisherwoman from Nochikuppam, said that she would choose not to go out and sell fish during the ban period. “The popular varieties will be out of reach. Purchasing them at higher rates and selling them during the ban period will not fetch good returns,” she said.
The price of seer fish goes up to `700 per kg from about Rs 450 per kg during the rest of the year. The cost of other sought after varieties like pomfret, trevally, shark, red snapper and tiger prawn will also see a steep rise.