The catch of Indian oil sardines, the topmost contributor to the country’s marine fish basket in 2017 and the favourite fish variety in Kerala, fell by a whopping 54% last year, the Kochi-headquartered Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) said in its annual marine fish landing estimates Friday.
Oil sardines, referred to as ‘Matthi’ in Kerala, fell to 9th spot in the country with a catch of 1.55 lakh tonnes in 2018, compared to 3.37 lakh tonnes in 2017. In Kerala, a decline of 39% in the catch of oil sardines has been reported. From 1.27 lakh tonnes in 2017, the total catch of the fish variety fell to 77,093 tonnes. However, no reason has been specified for this drop.
The Indian mackerel displaced the oil sardines at the top spot of fish landings with a total catch of 2.84 lakh tonnes, around 8% of the national fish basket. The fish was the most common resource in Kerala as well.
Overall, there has been a 9% decline in fish landings in the country from 3.83 million tonnes in 2017 to 3.49 million tonnes. Gujarat captured the top spot among states with maritime coasts with a total catch of 7.80 lakh tonnes followed by Tamil Nadu with 7.02 lakh tonnes and Kerala with 6.43 lakh tonnes. Due to successive cyclones like Phethai, Gaja and Titli, the number of fishing days reduced in states like West Bengal, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.
The CMFRI estimates the value of marine fish landings based on the price at landing centres across India at Rs 52,632 crores, a marginal increase of 0.4% over 2017. Comparatively, there was an 11.1% increase in the average price per kilogram of fish.
In Kerala, Ernakulam district contributed the most catch followed by Kollam and Kozhikode. Among major harbours, Munambam remained at the top spot followed by Neendakara and Shaktikulangara. In the state, while the Indian mackerel was the most caught fish, oil sardines and anchovies remained in second and third positions respectively. The state recorded a 10% increase in overall fish landings.