KOCHI: The State’s fisheries sector, which has witnessed a massive slump following demonetisation, is yet to return to normal.
In Ernakulam district, which boasts of an active coastline spread across an area of 47.5 km, fishing activities, especially sales, are yet to pick up momentum.
According to fishermen and fish vendors, the currency crunch, coupled with the ongoing economic slowdown, has paralysed the sector.
The Chellanam, Munambam, Kalamukku (Vypeen) and Thoppumpady harbours and the Chmabakkara market are the coastal areas where fish is primarily auctioned.
“Traders and agents take part in the auction and later sell the fish to vendors in the local market on a margin.
Most of the transactions are done using hard currency. Though some of the agents used to accept the old currency notes until November 15, they have stopped it now. The situation has affected the majority of fish vendors, who have not been able to buy stock due to dearth of lower denomination currencies,” said Kerala Matsya Thozhilali Federation (CITU) secretary K J Antony.
Nearly 9,000 fishermen and their families are engaged in fishing activities in Ernakulam alone, while another 1,000 depend on the backwaters at Udayamperoor, Poothotta, Kochi and Paravur for livelihood.
“Sales have plunged not only at fish landing centres, but at local markets also. Most of the trawlers have been docked for several days, due to lack regular maintenance as the cash crunch has rendered the fishers helpless,” he said.