The country’s marine fish production showed signs of revival in 2017 with the annual marine fish landings registering a 5.6 per cent increase compared to the previous year. The total fish landing in the country stood at 3.83 million tonnes in 2017 with Gujarat retaining the top position for the fifth consecutive year contributing 7.86 lakh tonnes.
Tamil Nadu maintained the second position while Kerala climbed to the third position, overtaking Karnataka, with a total catch of 5.85 lakh tonnes against 5.23 lakh tonnes in 2016, Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) director A Gopalakrishnan told reporters here on Tuesday.
The income from marine fish resources stood at `52,431 crores, recording an increase of 8.4 per cent in 2017 based on the price at landing centres. At the retail level, the estimated value of marine fish was ` 78,408 crore. The unit price at the retail market level was `204.
The return of oil sardine helped Kerala achieve an increase of nearly 12 per cent in the marine fish landings. The state’s oil sardine catch recorded a remarkable increase climbing 176 per cent to touch 1.27 lakh tonnes. The state’s sardine catch, which stood at 3,99,786 tonnes in 2012, had plummeted to 45,958 tonnes in 2016 causing concern among the fishermen and the scientific community.
However, Kerala recorded a 29 per cent drop in mackerel catch in 2017. Apart from oil sardine and ribbonfish, catch of prawns, threadfin bream and squid also increased in the state. The state witnessed a dip in the landing of scads, seer fish, anchovies, soles and red snapper. Though Karnataka was pushed to the fourth spot, the state recorded a historical increase in landings with an increased catch of bullseye.
According to A Gopalakrishnan, the marine fish catch in 2017 has been the second highest in the country. “The increase in the marine fish production is a promising trend and some new resources are emerging in many maritime states. The continuing trend of increased landings of bullseye in Karnataka helped the state record its highest landings ever, he said.
Fishery Resources Assessment Division head T V Sathianandan presented the findings. Scientists K Sunil Mohamed, G Maheshwarudu, P U Zacharia, E M Abdussamad and C Ramachandran were present on the occasion.
Ockhi caused a loss of Rs 585 crore
Cyclone Ockhi which swept past the Kerala coast in November 2017, leaving a trail of death and destruction, had a devastating effect on the marine fisheries sectors of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Kerala suffered an estimated drop of 35,000 tonnes of fish in December 2017 with an estimated loss of C585 crore at landing centre level and C821 crore in the retail market. The Ockhi reduced fishing efforts by 57 per cent.
MLS of fish: Ministers to meet in August
A meet of the fisheries ministers of south Indian states, including Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Goa will be held at CMFRI in Kochi in the first week of August. The meeting will discuss regulations in the fishing sector, including minimum legal size (MSL) of important fish varieties, to ensure sustainable fishing.
Total trawl ban not viable for India
India is unlikely to follow in the footsteps of Sri Lanka to impose a total ban on destructive bottom trawling as the sector contributes around 60 per cent of the country’s fish catch, said CMFRI principal scientist Sunil Mohammed. There is no doubt that bottom trawling is destructive. But we will have to find ways to ensure sustainable fishing, he said.