KENDRAPARA: Prices of seafood have skyrocketed across the district soon after closure of Odisha border with Andhra Pradesh in a bid to contain the spread of Covid-19. As it is the fishing ban in the sea had already made many varieties of fish and prawn expensive and out of reach for consumers.
Rajendra Behera (45), a fish vendor of Rajnagar said the price of seafood has increased by 30 to 100 per cent due to the fishing ban. The situation is similar at Kendrapara, Pattamundai, Patkura and Mahakalapada fish markets. The prices of popular sea fish like Kani, Pomfret, Khainga, Khuranta, Bhetki, Khasuli, Eel, Stingray, prawns and others have soared in last one week.
While the price of Pomfret, which usually sells for Rs 250 per kg has gone up to Rs 400 per kg, the price of Kani has increased to Rs 200 per kg from Rs 150 per kg. Prawns have now become a luxury for most consumers and is out of reach. Babaji Sethi, a fish seller of Kendrapara town said a few traders are cashing in on the crisis by stocking large quantities of fish in cold storages.
The closure of border with Andhra Pradesh has made matters worse. Due to restrictions, traders and truckers from the neighbouring State are reluctant to supply fish to the district. In a bid to conserve fish stock at sea during breeding period, the State government has imposed restrictions on fishing by mechanized boats from April 15 to June 15.
The ban extends to 12 nautical miles off Odisha coast and applies to all kinds of trawlers and mechanised boats more than 8.5 metre in length. Small non-mechanized boats less than 8.5 metre in length which use nets with big gaps are exempted from the ban. “Traditional fishermen have been exempted from the fishing ban However, they are permitted to carry out fishing only in the territorial waters and catch pelagic fish,” said Joint Director of Fisheries (Coastal) Pabitra Behera.