Sardine, which is one of the most important marine fisheries resources in the country in terms of volume by landing, is no longer so. The distinction for the highest catch of marine fish in the country has now gone to Mackerel. Sardine’s steep decline in the past year, with over 54 per cent fall in catch, has lowered it to ninth position in the list.
The Indian Mackerel has become the major resource of 2018, with a landing of 2.84 lakh tonnes. But compared to 2017 data, Mackerel also showed a decline of 1.4 per cent.
The annual marine fish landing data published by Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) in Kochi also states that marine fish landing in the country showed a decline of about 3.47 lakh tonnes in 2018. Compared to 2017, there is a decline of 9 per cent in fish landings.
A past study conducted by CMFRI exclusively on Indian oil sardine last December had said that climate change was the contributing factor for decline in Sardine.
Apart from threadfin breams, all other commercially important marine resources like non-penaeid prawns, Cephalopods (including squid, cuttlefish and octopus), penaeid prawns and ribbon fish showed a decline in availability compared to 2017. Threadfin bream has shown an increase of 16.3 per cent over the past years.
The study report also states that an unusually huge catch of red-toothed trigger fish was recorded with 72,000 tonnes. Karnataka recorded the highest landing of this.
As per 2018 report of Food and Agriculture Organisation of United Nations, India is at sixth position in marine fish production after China, Indonesia, USA, Russia and Peru. But the steep decline in fish landings in the country has become a major concern for the fisheries industry and stakeholders, including nearly two million fisherfolk.
While considering the nine maritime states of the country, Gujarat retained first position in volume of fish landing (7.80 lakh tonnes), followed by Tamil Nadu (7.02 lakh tonnes) and Kerala (6.43 lakh tonnes). There was a steep fall in fish landing in states like West Bengal, Karnataka and Maharashtra.