CHENNAI: Despite the 61-day annual fishing ban coming to an end on June 14, fish prices remain high and fishermen cite dwindling catch as the main reason. Though prices came down a bit last week, it will take at least 10 days or so for it to return to normal. But despite fish being pricey, thousands of people thronged markets in Kasimedu, Chintadripet and Vanagaram on Sunday to purchase their favourites.
The wholesale price of Vanjaram was Rs 1,000 when compared to Rs 1,500 some 10 days ago, while it would normally sell for around Rs 700. The retail price went up to Rs 1,800 on Sunday. Nethili, Sankara, Vaval and Parai were sold for Rs 300, Rs 350, Rs 800 and Rs 500 respectively as compared to Rs 450, Rs 500, Rs 1,000 and Rs 600 earlier.
“A little more than 50 boats arrived on Sunday. There are more than 2,000 trawler and Gillnet boats in the city. Around 100 boats return on a daily basis and this number goes up to 150-200 boats during the peak season,” said Dayalan, president of the Indian Fishermen’s Association.
Fishermen said those who went towards Andhra couldn’t net much. “The fishermen who went into the sea after the ban period were only able to catch small fish, within 10 nautical miles from Chennai, and it did not match the demand,” said M Vijesh of Chennai Sengai Singaravelar Visaipadagu Sangam.
The retailers at Kasimedu Market said the prices were at least Rs 200 higher than the wholesale rate. It was even higher in other markets. “Fresh fish was in demand and the situation is expected to remain the same for now. The fishing ban in Kerala will start from mid-July and following that the demand will increase further,” said Surendar, who sells fish near Marina Beach.