Kerala suffers significant dip in sardine, mackerel catch

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Kochi: Kerala has suffered a significant dip in the catch of oil sardine and Indian mackerel. The total marine fish landings in the state dropped by 15.4 per cent in 2019 compared to its preceding year.

These findings were revealed in a study report prepared by the fisheries resources assessment division of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI).

The landings of sardine, Kerala's staple fish, hit a two-decade low with a catch of just 44,320 tonnes compared to 77,093 tonnes in 2018. The state had reported a catch of 3.9 lakh tonnes of sardine in 2012. However, this has been decreasing every year except in 2017.

The main reason is the changes in the marine environment. The landings of mackerel reduced by 50 per cent, with a meagre catch of 40,554 tonnes. The mackerel was the most landed fish in 2018.

At the same time, the estimate of the value of marine fish landings based on price at the landing centres increased last year.

The price increased by 12.2 per cent to Rs 170.5 at landing centres, while it rose by 12 per cent to Rs 258 at the retail level. The value was at Rs 12,387 crore at the landing centres, while at the retail centres it was Rs 17,515 crore.

Kerala also retained the third position in the total marine fish landings in the country, according to CMFRI director Dr A Gopalakrishnan. Of the total fish landings, 21.7 per cent is from Tamil Nadu, letting the southern state overtake Gujarat, which had been in top spot for the past six years. Kerala's contribution is at 15.3 per cent.

The country's marine fish production registered an increase of 2.1 per cent with the total landings of 35.6 lakh tonnes. The red-toothed trigger fish became the most landed marine resource in the country, though it is least in demand in the domestic market. This fish is mainly used in feed mills.

Eight cyclones had cut down the number of fishing days last year.

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Lockdown loss

Kerala's fisheries sector suffered a loss of Rs 3,481 crore during the 60 days of COVID-19 lockdown. A nationwide loss of Rs 11,652 crore was reported in 40 days, as per the CMFRI estimates.

This figure does not include the losses in the export and processing sectors.

Marine fish landings in Kerala in 2019

Anchovies - 74,194 tonnes

Red-toothed trigger fish - 62,782 tonnes

Prawns - 46,615 tonnes

Oil sardine - 44,320 tonnes

Indian mackerel - 40,554 tonnes

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