Sardine catch in Kerala lowest in the past 20 years

The annual study report of CMFRI says that the most landed fish in the country was commercially unimportant red toothed triggerfish.
Indian oil sardine
Indian oil sardine
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The Indian oil sardine, the staple and most sought after fish of Kerala, has recorded the lowest catch in the past 20 years in the state, says the annual study report of Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) for the year 2019.

The study report which was published by CMFRI on June 30, states that Kerala has also recorded 15.4 percent decrease in the total amount of fish landing or catch in the state compared to the previous year, and attributed it to unfavourable changes in ocean environment.

The low landing of sardine in 2019 led to steep increase in price from Rs 100 to Rs 300 for a kilogram, and was widely discussed among the public.

The total landing of sardines in Kerala coast last year was 44,320 tonnes. In 2018, the total sardine catch of the state was 77,093 tonnes. According to the CMFRI study report, after 2012, when the catch was 3.9 lakh tonnes, sardine landing has been decreasing drastically every year.

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

CMFRI also points out that the recurrent cyclonic storm in the west coast of the country has also adversely affected the fish landing. There were eight cyclonic storms in the past year and six severe cyclones ‘affecting the fishing calendar days more adversely on the west coast of the country’.

Anchovies topped the list of most caught fish in Kerala for the year 2019 (74,194 tonnes).

Meanwhile, on a national scale the total fish landing in the country has increased by 2.1 percent. The country received 35.6 lakh tonnes of fish in total. Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Kerala are respectively in the first three positions having the highest fish landing.

Interestingly, the most landed fish in the country was commercially unimportant red toothed triggerfish (2.75 lakh tonnes). “The has little demand in domestic markets and is mostly caught for the purpose of feed mills,” it states.

The states which recorded increase in catch are West Bengal (55%), Andhra Pradesh (34%), Odisha (14.5%), Karnataka (11%), Tamil Nadu (10.4%), while states which got decreased landing compared to the previous year are Maharashtra (32%), Goa (44%) and Kerala (15.4%).

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