It’s happy news for the seafood lovers. Though seafood was expensive with high export value until recently, it is getting cheaper in the local market owing to poor demand in the international market, especially in European countries. According to boat owners, the price of high-value export species, such as cuttlefish, squid and lobster, has decreased by 50 percent, making them available at the local market. The trend has been attributed to economic meltdown in European countries.
“The price of lobsters has come down to `200 per kilogram now. While there is demand for prawns and lobsters, demand for cuttlefish and squid in the local market is very low,’’ said Joseph Xavier Kalappurakkal, the general secretary of the All Kerala Boat Owners Association.
The price of cuttlefish was `320 per kilogram before the trawling ban but it has come down to `160 now. Similarly, the price of squid has become as low as `80 to `100 per kilogram. Lobsters, priced `400- 500 per kilogram before the trawling ban, are now priced `150-200 per kilogram, he said.
“European countries, especially Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece are our traditional customers. However, export houses are not getting enough orders even though it is the season. There has been a fall of 50 percent in the orders,’’ said George Joseph, managing partner of Star Exports. Joseph Xavier Kalappurakkal said that a section of boat-owners had stopped operations as they find it unprofitable with high operational cost.
‘’There is no fair price for export-value species. We are not getting other locally popular varieties either. Therefore, operating boats has become a loss-making affair,’’ Joseph Xavier said. An office-bearer of the Seafood Export Association of India also confirmed that exports in general were showing a downward trend.
‘’The exact figures for the year are being finalised and are expected to be released soon. However, in general, the trend is not positive,’’ he said.