The fish lovers will have to spend extra bucks to savour their favourite delicacies with the prices of almost all fish varieties increasing by 40-50 per cent compared to that of last year. For a state known for fish aficionados, the price rise has come as a jolt to the common man.
According to market sources, the price may remain high throughout the year as catch is too low compared to that of last year.
Though the ban on trawling was lifted on July 31 this year, the catch has been not much encouraging. The fishing season here falls immediately after the trawling ban and contributes immensely to the market availability. But, this time the scenario is different, fish traders said.
P H Abdul Kalam, an official with Matsyafed, said that as the fish landing is too low this time the consumers are on the losing side.
“As a result of drastic drop in fish catch, the prices have gone up by at least 50 per cent compared to an year ago. Normally at this time the prices cool off but this year it has not happened. If the landing remains at these levels the price will remain in the high trajectory,” he said. The price of seer fish is `450 a kg now, which shows an increase of over `100 than last year. The situation is worse as the September-October period is the peak season for this fish variety.
It is estimated that around 300 different species of fish are caught from the Kerala coast, out of which only around 40 are of commercial use. At present, around 6 lakh tonnes of fish are produced each year from the state, half of which are oil Sardine. “Commonly used fish varieties such as Sardine, Mackerel and Threadfin Bream (Kilimeen) will burn a hole in the pockets of the customers now. The fish catch in the South-west coast is lower by 50 per cent compared to last year ,” said Binu Kuriakose, assistant manager, Matsyafed.
He added that the imbalance between availability and consumption is the major reason which is driving the prices up.