Animal Husbandry

Famous Kerala Sardine Fish catch falls lowest in the past two decade

Garsha Sai Nitesh
Garsha Sai Nitesh

The famous Indian oil sardine and staple fish of Kerala have recorded the lowest catch, was a major factor behind the decline. The catch of oil sardine recorded lowest in the two-decade to 44,320 tonnes in 2019, says the annual report of Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) for 2019.

Fish production in Kerala declined by 15.4 percent to touch 5.44 lakh tonnes in 2019, nearly 1 lakh tone is less than the prior year when the production was 6.43 lakh tonnes in 2018 attributed this fall to unfavorable conditions in ocean and environment.

The warming of the Arabian Sea due to the El Nino South Oscillation affected the catch in the last one decade. The catch of sardine touched all 3.9 lakh tonnes in 2012 later dropped to 45,958 tonnes in 2016.

The low catch of sardine in 2019 raised the fish price in the state from Rs 100 to Rs 300 for a kilogram.

“The oil sardine landings continued to decline for the past two years (2018 and 2019), all thanks to the unfavourable changes in the ocean environment. After analyzing the correlation between the ocean environment and biological cycle of the oil sardine, the CMFRI had forecasted in January 2018 that sardine would be declined in 2019 in Kerala waters,” the report stated.

According to the new CMFRI data released India’s fish landing stood at 35.6 lakh tonnes, a marginal increase of 2.1 percent to the prior year. Tamil Nadu topped with 7.75 lakh tonnes catch, Gujarat stood at second place with7.49 lakh tonnes.

The CMFRI data showed a worrying sign of a sharp increase in the finding of commercially unimportant fish red toothed triggerfish, which has very less demand was caught 2.74 lakh tonnes from 72,000 tonnes in 2018.

The states which saw an increase in the recorded catch are West Bengal by 55 percent then Andhra Pradesh 34 percent, Odisha saw an increase of 14.5 percent, Karnataka by 11 percent, while states which saw decreased landing when compared to the previous year are Maharashtra at 32 percent and Goa at 44 percent.

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