CHENNAI:Fish lovers have been forced to change their diet with the lack of sea food varieties and hike in their prices, due to the ongoing ban on fishing. Now, most are turning to eggs as a replacement, since mutton is expensive and chicken adds to the summer heat.
Priya, a dietetics and nutrition student, says, “We buy fish frequently because it is good for health. But during the ban, when the prices almost double, we go for eggs. Chicken will increase the body temperature during summer, so, eggs are a better option.” During the ban, the quantity of fish (around 130 to 150 tonnes on a normal day) that lands at Kasimedu harbour reduces to 7-10 tonnes. To compensate for the decrease in quantity, fish from Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra and Goa are brought into the State. However, consumers in the city feel that the varieties brought in from other States are not as tasty and fresh as the ones fished in the State. “I love fish, especially vira and vanjaram. But during the ban, we buy eggs more often as good quality fish is not available,” says Karunagaran, who eats fish at the least thrice a week.
Many have also turned to vegetables and fruits for proteins that they get by consuming fish. “Compared to chicken or mutton, vegetables are better both health wise and economically,” says Bagavathy Ammal, 60.
Restaurant owners in Anna Nagar say that there is a fall in the demand for fish dishes. “People do not order sea food dishes much during these days because most sought after varieties like vira, vanjaram and sankara are not available. They feel the fish we use are not fresh,” says the owner of Rawther Thalapakatti restaurant.
As another option, people purchase lake and pond fish such as keluthi, koduva, etc., as they are cheap and fresh. “We get small fishes from a lake or pond occasionally. They are cheap and fresh, compared to the fish we buy from the market during the ban,” says Muthuswamy, a fish consumer.