What’s behind the sudden increase in fish prices?

Nikhil Borkar
Sunday, 12 January 2020

Maharashtra has a coastline of 720 km, and Ratnagiri, Dapoli, Dahanu and Mumbai region are the major supplier of the ocean fish and also a major exporter. Koli is a major fishermen community involved in netting fish while Bhoi community supplies fish in the local markets. Sakal Times spoke with  President of Akhil Bhartiya Machchhimar Committee Damodar Tandel and local fish wholesalers regarding the soaring prices and how are the demands being met with. 

The unseasonal weather and rising fuel prices have hit the supply of fish in the local markets. Along with this, the rising demands from the fishmongers have led to soaring fish prices since June last year.

Kolambi, Halwa, Pomfret, Bangda are the fish varieties which are in major demands among the fishmongers. Therefore, their prices have pushed up. Kolambi’s price has gone up to Rs 500 per kg from earlier Rs 300 per kg, Pomfret’s cost has increased from Rs 650 to 700 per kg to Rs 800 to Rs 1,000 per kg, depending on the size.

Maharashtra has a coastline of 720 km, and Ratnagiri, Dapoli, Dahanu and Mumbai region are the major supplier of the ocean fish and also a major exporter. Koli is a major fishermen community involved in netting fish while Bhoi community supplies fish in the local markets. Sakal Times spoke with  President of Akhil Bhartiya Machchhimar Committee Damodar Tandel and local fish wholesalers regarding the soaring prices and how are the demands being met with. 
   
What is the major reason behind soaring fish prices?
“The annual ban on fishing up to 12 nautical miles and extreme weather situation in the state has halted fishing activity in the major coastal places. Traditional boats were allowed to do fishing only in the shallow water due to the bad weather. The fishermen could not even get their average fish catch last year,” said Tandel. Tandel further said, “Due to the average fish catch last year, there was a shortage in supply and automatically, prices have soared. Also, several boats get damaged due to bad weather and therefore, we had held a meeting with then Fadnavis government and demanded to release Rs 25,000 as immediate financial assistance to each fisherman and Rs one lakh for the boat loss.”
He added, “The government should accept our demands such as providing us LED light at a subsidised rate, which is used at night to catch fish and as of now, there are 20,000 mechanised boats with the fishermen, so they should provide us with more lights.” 

The wholesale fish owners in local markets have cited an increasing demand as the reason behind rising prices
Radheshyam Jadhav, a wholesale owner from Krushna fish market in Ganesh Peth, Pune, said, “In June-July last year, the government restricted use of mechanised boats. Due to this, many fishermen were not able to catch fish or if they do, they used to store it for export due to the higher price in the export trade.” According to fishery department officials in Pune, the annual ban on fishing up to 12 nautical miles is to protect juvenile fish.
 
Fish lovers want inland varieties 
Due to less supply of sea fish and high price rise, many fishmongers prefer to have inland varieties of fish. Manoj Tikone, owner of Tikone Fish Traders in Ganesh Peth, said, “Several people prefer sea fish which is larger in size and fresh too, but due to the shortage of supply and higher demands, many fishmongers demand inland varieties of fish such as Vamb, Maral, Singhe and Rohu.”  Increase in diesel and petrol prices has also hit inland fish varieties sale, as the prices have gone up.

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