Published Date: 30/5/2008 - (NIE)
Chennai, May 29: WITH the 45-day ban on deep sea fishing coming to an end on Thursday midnight, the expected nosedive of fish prices once the mechanised boats return with their catch will not happen this year. This is what the boat owners have to say: It is all due to phenomenal hike in essential commodities’ rate in recent months, which has its cascading effect on its allied products like seafoods.
Since Thursday morning, Kasimedu Fishing Harbour was abuzz with activity as labourers of different boats were busy storing icebars and other essential ration items, including the muchneeded diesel, before setting out on a week-long sea trip. Venugopal, general secretary of Mechanised Boat Fishermen Association at Kasimedu, says, “The current fish prices will not see any steep fall as expected by seafood consumers, in fact the slide from the current price will be around five to 15 per cent only.”
And it may be due to the steady price rise in other food products, including rice and edible oil, he notes. Moreover, the rise in prices of essential items for fishing, like various types of nets, will also affect the pricing mechanism once the catch arrives at the harbour in a week’s time, another boat owner says. Kasimedu Fishing Harbour is home to nearly 700 mechanised fishing boats and deep sea fishing trawlers, besides a large number of catamarans and fibre boats.
The quantum of daily fish catch handled at the fishing harbour is around 110 tonnes and nearly 60 per cent of them get exported to other states and abroad. For mechanised boats, the government allots 1500 litre of diesel per month at a subsidized rate, but a boat which ventures out to deep sea fishing requires 10,000 litre a month and we have to buy the 8500- odd litres from open market, and it will have a cascading effect on fish prices too, Rajendran, a boat owner remarks.The fresh fish catch by the mechanised boats is expected to reach in the first week of June, but going by the boat owners’ words, fish price will not see a fall at least for a month.