Believe It or Not! Buthai (Sardine) Prices have Skyrocketed Than Bangude (Mackerel)?
Mangaluru: If you are a seafood lover, and your favourite fish is Sardine, then you have some extra money in your pocket since the price of Buthai (Sardine) has gone up more than what you pay for Bangude (Mackerel). The price of fish, which had plunged after the fishing season began in August has shot up again since a couple of days, and especially the price on Sardine, which today cost a whopping Rs 100-150, which was earlier sold for Rs 70-100. In Bengaluru, the sardine price has gone up to Rs 180 a Kg, which was earlier Rs 130 a Kg.
You may ask, why? Due to climate change and also due to the inclement weather conditions since couple of days, fishing boats are not venturing into the sea , therefore it has thinned the supply of Sardines. Go to the wholesale fish dock (Dhakke) in Bunder, you’ll be surprised to find NO Sardines at all, except for a few dealers who might be selling those sardines frozen during the earlier days. Freshly caught sardines are hard to find- and if you still insist on buying these sardines, you’ll be paying more, what you paid for them few days ago. Sardines are going the Mackerel now! Even though Sardines catch was in large number after the fishing season started in the Arabian Sea, poor catch of the fish has resulted in its prices going up.
Somashekar who runs a small restaurant serving mid-day fish meal for Rs 40 speaking to Team Mangalorean said, “The only way I can sell the fish meal for Rs 40 when the price of the sardine is low, and most of the time it is sardine curry for our cheap fish meal. I was surprised to note that the price of sardine had gone up, so I switched to Maruvai (Cockles/shells) as a substitute for sardine for the fish meal. Hope the sardine price comes down, since everyone prefers sardine fry since, for a common man, it works out good”.
Mohammed, a wholesale fish dealer in Bunder said, “There is hardly any sardine coming from the sea to the dock. A few supply of sardines we get are from Kerala or Tamil Nadu, and so the prices are up. I can sell you Mackerel for Rs 70-90 a Kg, while for sardines I will have to charge you Rs 90 150 a kg, depending on the size. It’s been a few days that we haven’t seen sardines at all. Never know when we will have sardines here again until then fish lovers have to stop by and check on the availability”.
Lakhsmiakka, a woman fish vendor at the Central fish market said, “Among other fish people buy, they also like to buy sardines since they are good to fry. Not only is the weather condition that the fish suppliers are blaming upon, it is also due to fishermen venturing into the sea to catch eggs and bay fish (juveniles)-if that’s the case how can there be any fish in the water? Also that even though we have a few sardines that come from Kerala or Tamil Nadu, but Kudla people prefer the local catch in our coastal waters. Also, we have heard from our customers that sardines from out of our coast are not so tasty when compared to our local catch”.
Speaking to Team Mangalorean, Deputy Director of Fisheries at Mangaluru, C Naik, said, “The sardine season should have already started in full swing by now. Unlike inland fisheries, it is very difficult to predict marine fisheries. Sardines and mackerels are shoal fishes and their movement depends on conducive factors in the sea. We are getting mackerels and hope that sardine catch will improve soon,”. On the other hand, president of Purse-seine Boat Owners’ Union-Mangaluru said, ” We hope that the present situation may ease from November when the fishing boats commence night fishing. Until then we will have to keep our fingers crossed. And also due to the sudden change in climatic weather conditions, we can’t predict what’s going to happen next. Fish lovers have to adjust to other variety of fish, than their favourite Sardine”.
So until Sardines catch show up in large numbers into the fishing dock, seafood lovers have to switch their taste of sardine to mackerel- after all you are paying less for mackerel than sardine- and also that you can enjoy a little more fish meat in mackerel? And if you can sacrifice until your favourite sardines are available under your budget, why not be a vegetarian till then?