KOCHI: Fish prices in the district have increased owing to fewer fishermen fishing. According to them, sea erosion has negatively affected this year's fish landing. "We are scared to go into the deep sea during sea erosion. The memories of cyclone Ockhi had worsened our worries. And we do not want a similar mishap to take our lives. Only a few boats from Vaiyathura go fishing. The reduced fish landing has resulted in the increased cost of fish," said Franklin, a fisherman from Valiyathura.
Fishes are sold in packets at Shankumugham beach. According to regular fish buyers, the quantity of fish in the packet has reduced. "We used to receive a packet full of anchovy (natholi) for Rs 100. Now we need to pay Rs 200 for the same," said Leela Thomas, a regular customer. Ragini, another customer who buys fish from Pangode Fish Market said, "The cost has increased after the announcement of cyclone Fani.
Before the announcement, the Indian scad (kozhiyala) that had cost Rs 5 per fish costs Rs 10 at present. The price of Indian mackerel (ayila) in the wholesale market costs Rs 50 but the same costs Rs 60-70 in the retail market at Pangode." Fish vendors receive fish at a higher price alongside which the retail market price has also increased.
"The cost of the mackerel has increased from Rs 5,000 to Rs 7,000 per basket. Anchovy that had cost Rs 2,000 has doubled," said Lalamma, a fish vendor at Valiyathura. A similar condition exists at Shankumugham.
"The landing of anchovy is high at Shankumugham. Still, it costs Rs 1,500 per basket. It had cost Rs 800 earlier. The cost of false trevally (parava) has increased to Rs 5,000 per basket," said Anie Victor, a fish vendor at Shankumugham.
Inspection at borders have strengthened
With the reduced fish landing, the import of fish from the neighbouring states has increased. "Inspection for chemical-laced fishes are conducted at the Amaravila check-post and fish markets in the district. However, no incidents of fishes with formalin or ammonia content has been detected in the past one month," said Dileep C L, assistant commissioner of food safety. "Surprise checkings are strengthened with the increased rate of fish import," he added.
Price of fish is expected to remain high until the fish landing increases. "Fish landing remains fluctuated this year and people depend on imported fish. Prices are expected to remain high until the end of this month," said M S Ali, a fisherman from Shankumugham.