THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Even though trawling ban has been lifted, the price of fish is yet to come down significantly thanks to the recent spell of rains, says the fishing community in Thiruvananthapuram. The prices are expected to drop further in the coming days.
The 47-day ban, which came into effect on June 15, ended on July 31. Once the ban ended, the fishermen were hoping to sell everything from ‘Neymeen’ to ‘Kozhuchala’ in plenty. However, fisherfolk across the city complain that the catch of ‘Neymeen’ (seer fish) is sparse. Its price ranges from Rs 800 to Rs 900 per kilo.
The prices have hardly come down in Connemara fish market. Fisherwomen from Veli and Poonthura, who sell the fish, blame it on the high tide.
Seebamma from Poonthura says, “This is fishing season and we are supposed to get Neymeen, Njavara, Vaala, Konchu, Kozhuchala and other fish in abundance. However, the catch as well as the sales is not as much as we had hoped for. The boats cannot go far out to the sea, because of the rains.”
Trucks and lorries from other states continue to contribute a major share of the fish in Pangode market. Krishnankutty, a CITU labourer who helps unload the goods, says, “Of the 30 to 40 vehicles that arrive at the market at night, only six or seven would be from Vizhinjam. The rest come from places like Kadalur and Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu, and from Andhra. Now, the season has begun in Kerala. So more lorries are expected from Vizhinjam, Neendakara, Kochi and Alappuzha. After August 15, most of the catch will be from the coasts of Goa and Mangalore.”
The vendors at Pangode market have started to feel the price drop, though only slightly. “Shrimps which were Rs 400 a couple of days ago, are now available at Rs 300. The price for the most common Kozhuchala has halved. The prices will come down further,” says Annamma, a fisherwoman at Pangode market.
The prices at Matsyafed outlets have not changed. Matsyafed district manager S Suresh says that the prices at Matsyafed are more or less determined by the prices set in larger markets like the one in Pangode. “We cannot set a uniform rate across all Matsyafed outlets, people who manage our outlets buy the fish from Vizhinjam or from commercial agents who deal with agents in Mangalore. Eventually, the price depends on the availability of fish,” he says.