Missing trawler case: Fishermen apprehensive to go towards Maharashtra


Team Udayavani, Feb 24, 2019, 2:58 AM IST

Malpe: In the backdrop of the mysterious disappearance of the deep sea trawler Suvarna Tribhuja, the fishermen from Karnataka’s coast are apprehensive to go fishing towards Maharashtra and hence the local fish markets are facing the burnt.

On one hand, due to the lack of fish, the available fish in the market is becoming expensive, on the other hand, the minimum income of the fishermen is being affected with all boats choosing to remain back at the ports.

Before the Suvarna Tribhuja incident, 1,000 to 1,200 deep sea trawlers use to sail towards Maharashtra for deep sea fishing. This is so because, a higher catch of fish is found in the deep regions of the sea and the fishermen must travel 20-24 nautical miles from the coast of Karnataka or Goa to get to the bigger catches. But in Maharashtra, the bigger catches of fishes is available at half the distance of around 12 nautical miles, hence deep sea fishing is preferred near Maharashtrian waters. In a span of 10-11 days, fish worth Ra5-7 lakh could be caught here. Because of this, sometimes the fishermen have to face trouble from local fishermen or get fined by the officials. However, some say that since the mysterious disappearance of the deep sea trawler along with its crew, there is a drop in the number of boat goings towards this region.

Purse seine fishing stopped

On one hand, around 30% of the deep sea trawlers have remained anchored at the ports while on the other hand, due to the lack of fish, purse seine fishing has stopped. Loss is being incurred since the cost of the diesel spent it not matching with the amount of fish being caught. There is pain that the small size trawlers and 370 boats are not catching profitable amounts of fish.

Rise is fish prices

Along with the present situation, enough fish s not available at the bunders of Kerala and Tamil Nadu as well. It is being said that resistive weather and fall in fish shoal sizes are the reasons behind the lack of fish. Hence the fish prices have risen exorbitantly.

A month ago, the price for a KG of mackerel being directly auctioned to fish merchants was Rs 90. But now the prices have risen to Rs 130-140/kg. Small mackerel costing Rs 60 are now Rs 80, King fish weighing more than 2 kg cost Rs 650 to Rs 700 those which weigh less cost Rs 500 to Rs 550. Ade Meen which was previously costing Rs 110 is now costing Rs 150. Pomfret fish price has risen from Rs 700 to Rs 1,000. Black pomfret is priced at Rs 500-550. Small sized pink perch fish whose price never rose more than R 30 for a kg is now rice Rs 55. Patte Rani fish cost Rs 80-90.

“Along with the lack of fish in Karavali, the burden of diesel prices has also increased. A few boats are facing loss due to failure of earning minimum income. Since the fish yields have fallen, there is a demand for small fish,” informs Satish Kunder, president, Malpe fishermen association

“There is lack of fish at all the bunders in the country. Since there are more fish markets in Kerala, 90% of the fish from Malpe bunder goes to Kerala. Now, the fish amounts have dropped there too,” said Sadhu Salian, president, Malpe fish merchants association

Article be Nataraj Malpe translated into English by Aaron Dmello

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