KOCHI: The annual marine fish landings in the country was around 3.59 million tonne in 2014, a five per cent decline from the previous year, shows an estimate published by the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI).The decline was quite evident in the catch of oil sardine and hilsa, the favourite fish varieties of Keralites and Bengalis, respectively. On the other hand, retail prices of fish soared during the year, registering a 18.4 per cent growth that translates to an average of `146.27 per kg.
Gujarat recorded the highest marine fish landings in 2014, 7.2 lakh tonne or 19.8 per cent of the total landings, followed by Tamil Nadu (6.65 lakh tonne) and Kerala (5.76 lakh tonne). The state-wise data available with the CMFRI show decline in fish landings in Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Maharastra, West Bengal and Daman and Diu. Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Goa and Odisha recorded increase in fish catch compared to the previous year.
“The annual fish landings had been on the rise in the past years until 2012, when it peaked at 39.38 million tonne. In 2013, fish landings recorded a decline, and the trend continued in 2014 too. The decline could be linked to various factors, including climatic variations,” said Fishery Resources Assessment Division, CMFRI, head Dr T V Sathianandan. The total value of marine fish at the landing centres in the country is estimated at `31,754 crore. The decline in fish catch affected the retail price, which reached an average of ` 146.27, marking an annual increase of 18.4 per cent. Kerala, where fish prices are the highest, registered a retail price hike of 19.4 per cent in 2014, compared to 2013.