Importers from Japan are keen on buying tuna from the deep sea fishermen of Thoothoor region in western Kanyakumari district. The fishermen who spend up to 50 days in the deep seas were delighted by the assurance given by a Japanese team who said that they can buy their fish at three to four times higher than the existing market price here.
A four-member delegation comprising fish importers from Japan visited Colachel and Thengapattanam fishing harbours in Kanyakumari district had an interaction with the fishermen in this regard. The delegates, Kiyoshi Kimora, Kazutoshi Otsuka, Masumi Harasawa and Azumi Tsushima, visited the harbours on Saturday following an invitation by fisheries officials and fisheries minister D Jayakumar.
The minister along with officials visited Japan a couple of months ago as part of the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) under the Ministry of Commerce of the Government of India delegation to draw the attention of importers in Japan. On Friday, the delegates visited the Tharuvaikulam fishing harbour in Tuticorin district
Accompanied by the director of fisheries, G N Sameeran, Tamil Nadu Fisheries Development Corporation director Jude Armstrong, deputy director Lamek Jayakumar and additional directors of the fisheries department Johnny Tom Varghese and Ajith Stalin, the delegates continued the visit in the southern coastal districts on Saturday. They visited a sea food export firm’s processing plant at Thenthamaraikulam.
The delegates then had a look at fishing activities at the Muttom JPR fishing harbour and Thengapattanam fishing harbour. Impressed by the quality of fish, they asked the fishermen about the price they are getting for their catch. Chinnathurai Fisherman Union president K Fredy said that the highest price they are getting is Rs 150 to Rs 160 per kg. “It is not more than Rs 200 but it drops to Rs 50 when more boats return to the shore with tuna,” he said.
Surprised at his response, the Japanese delegation said that they could easily get Rs 400 to Rs 500 per kg provided they meet the standards required in Japan. The delegates demonstrated the style of cutting, removing blood and packing it in polythene covers as flesh pieces that are not less than 500 grams each. Hundreds of fishermen witnessed the demonstration that went on for close to half an hour.
Freddy told TOI that this would be a cake walk for the fishermen of Thoothoor region as they catch fish that weighing 120 kg to 130 kg a fish. “The price offered by the Japanese delegation is promising. Currently middlemen buying fish from us have formed a cartel, which fixes the price of tuna as less as Rs 50 a kg. The government should enable us to export fish to Japan and other countries without middlemen,” he added.