Fish Shortage-High Prices! Inclement Weather and Fishermen’s Protest Delays Fishing Venture

Mangaluru: Although the nearly two-months fishing ban expired on Friday, but fishing is still on hold for two reasons- Inclement Weather; and also that the Fishermen’s Association is protesting the government’s ‘apathy’ in responding to their demands, regarding the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) of diesel subsidy to their bank accounts. Sources reveal that there are more than 36,000 fishermen, and over 2,700 boats including 800 purse seine boats are registered in Dakshina Kannada. It is learnt that the fishermen may go for deep sea fishing, probably on 5 or 6 August based on timely weather warnings issued by the meteorological department.

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If you walk to the Mangaluru Old Port, you will be surprised to see that there is not much fishing activity going on, other than a few fish vendors selling a minimum variety of fish caught through non-mechanized boats- and the price of these fish are pretty expensive. According to National Fisheries Workers Forum general secretary Vasudev Boloor who had said that the fishermen are getting ready for the next fishing season with great expectations. “Although the fishing ban has ended, most of the fishermen may not venture into deep sea fishing immediately. Earlier, they were commencing the deep sea fishing after the annual samudra puja. However, this year, the rituals are scheduled to be held on August 29. Hence, most of the fishermen may commence deep sea fishing by this weekend. Those engaged in traditional boats and others will commence deep sea fishing soon,” has said Boloor.

The fishermen are also not happy since they have an apprehension that the the fish catch will be less due to the decrease in rainfall. Normal rain would have brought the required nutrients to the fish through rivers enabling outboard engines fishermen as well as traditional boat fishermen to get a good catch. Due to the deficient in rains and the flow of water to the sea is lacking, traditional fishermen have lost hopes. Although some fishermen have performed the Samudra pooja on Friday, they intend to go fishing sometime during this week.

According to statistics, there are 1338 (Motorised-Non Mechanical), 961 (Motorised -Mechanical) and 499 (Non-Motorised) registered in Mangaluru. It is learnt that Fishermen using non-mechanical (outboard engine) vessels get 270 litres kerosene a month at subsidised rates, but no direct benefit transfer as of now. And regarding rain as per meteorological statistics, last week the rainfall was 40% lesser compared to average normal this year. Similarly, the rainfall in July is 20% lesser compared to average normal.

So depending on the weather conditions and also due to the ongoing fishermen protest, fish lovers will have to keep their fingers crossed as to when the fishermen may go deep fishing and get a good catch-which may result in lower fish prices. Until then, if you are desperately craving for fish, you will have to shell out some big bucks for your favorite fish(if you are lucky to find one?). Right now-Sardines, Mackerels, Prawns, small pomfrets and few other variety of fishes are the only ones available in large quantity.

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