KOCHI: The Kerala Malsyathozhilali Aikyavedi (KMA) (TUCI) has urged the state government to announce a relief package for the fishing sector in the wake of diminishing marine resources and also requested it to retain subsidies provided to fishermen. “The state government should prepare a package which should be submitted to the Centre,” said a statement from Charles George, KMA president. “The annual report of Central Marine Fisheries Research institute (CMFRI) indicates the decline in fish production will continue. Kerala, which stood first in the production of marine fish till 2012, slumped to third position since 2013. Latest statistics say Kerala is fourth among nine coastal states and two Union Territories,” George said.
Production of species like sardine, mackerel and anchovy usually caught by traditional sector fishermen showed a downward trend. “The production of mackerel reduced from 70,000 tonnes last year to 47,000 tonnes. Production of anchovy reduced from 39,153 tonnes to 3,547 tonnes while production of sardine nosedived from 4 lakh tonnes in 2012 to 43,500 tonnes this year. Customers are unaware of the crisis in production, as the huge gap between production and demand is being bridged through fish sourced from neighbouring states,” he said.
George said a study report by CMFRI said fish consumption reduced by 30 to 40 per cent post demonetisation. “The income of trawlers reduced by eight per cent while the income of fishermen using in-board engine boats reduced by 17.9 per cent. Following the implementation of GST, prices of all fishing equipment increased manifold,” he said.