Mulki: Thieves have targeted gold, electronics, precious antiques and other items in the past. Fishloads may have been hijacked at sea or during surface transport.
But perhaps in the very first case of its kind to be reported for a long time, captive-bred fish valued in lakhs was reported stolen from the Kolachekambla estuary near here. The theft is said to have taken place during the night between Monday and Tuesday.
Under the sponsorship of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI), two species of fish, Tomato Sea-bass (Cephalopholis sonnerati Valenciennes) which is locally called ‘kemberi’ and another local favourite ‘mudaavu’ are being bred in cages placed in the estuary for quite some time. The project was for the benefit of about 12 tribal families who hailed from Brahmavar.
The fish grow up to 2 to 3 kgs in weight in two years and fetch Rs 400 to 600 per kilogramme. This factor may have lured the thieves to the spot. The current crop had grown up to a kilogramme each.
Using sharp weapons, the culprits appear to have ripped open all the nets placed over the cages and taken away an estimated catch of 2,000 kgs. The value of the stolen fish is placed around Rs 8 lakh.
A complaint has been filed at the Mulki police station. Enquiries have revealed that the stolen fish was being sold in the fish markets in Mangaluru the next morning.