KARWAR: Grouper fish, which have a good commercial value, are found strewn all across Rabindranath Tagore beach in Karwar, triggering a debate between fishermen and experts over the cause behind it. While some say it is due to global warming, marine biology experts disagree.
The fishermen are not venturing into the sea after an alert issued by the met department. It has been more than two months since they cast their nets. The sea is very rough with huge waves hitting the shore. “Grouper fish swim in deep water. They have come ashore because the water deep down is getting colder,” said Prakash Banalikar, a local fisherman.
Vinayaka Harikantra, another fisherman, echoed Prakash’s view by saying that the sea water is very cold these days. “We are seeing Grouper fish on the beach for the first time. It is due to cold water. We can feel the cold water when we enter the sea at its shallow end,” he said.
Many were happy after the fish were found on the shore. “The sea has become a mirage for us these days. We are so glad that we are able to catch these fish on the shore,” says Prakash. Shivakumar Haragi, Assistant Professor, Department of Marine Biology, Karnataka University, Dharwad says Grouper fish are coming ashore due to upwelling process, which happens during monsoon.
‘Cold water throwing up Grouper fish’
“The sea is churning and the fish deep down get thrown up on the shore due to rough seas. In this phenomenon, the warm water goes down and cold water comes up,” he explained. “The other possibility is that these fish might be part of a larger group, which might have been chased by dolphins,” he elaborated.
Grouper fish live amid rocks and coral reefs. The fish washed ashore are the young ones, according to Professor Haragi. “They grow up to between 3 kg and to 20 kg in weight and are large in size. They sell at a cost of Rs 300 to Rs 400 per kg and cost more than Rs 600 per kg during off-season,” he added. Usually it is the sardines or some other common variety of fish which end up on the sea shore. This is the first time that Groupers have been washed ashore.