MANGALURU: As the fishing season comes to a halt on May 31 midnight, Karnataka’s fish production has dropped by 18 per cent during 2018 - 19. Reduced fishing days, inclement weather and sudden changes in fish shoal pattern are said to be major reasons for the production to come down.
According to the statistics collected by Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute at Mangaluru, Karnataka’s marine fish production was 5,47,784 tonnes in 2017 - 18, which fell to 4,45,213 tonnes in 2018 - 19.
CMFRI officials said that the state lost a lot of fishing days due to bad weather in the beginning of monsoon. But good number of days was lost when the fishing community went on a strike over light fishing row.
In the month of December last year, purse seine boat owners approached the Karnataka High Court and got an order, allowing them to take out light fishing. All hell broke loose along the coast, as the trawl boat fishermen opposed the high court order permitting light fishing. As the traditional fishermen also joined, the fishing harbours starting from Karwar to Mangaluru went on strike.
The strike was eventually withdrawn after state government went on an appeal and the high court banned the light fishing again along the Karnataka coast.
Sardines go missing from the platter
‘Boothai’ (Indian Oil Sardines) is one of the most wanted fish on foodies’ platter at Dakshina Kannada. But the tasty fish evaded the fishing community almost the entire fishing season. CMFRI Mangaluru estimated that fall in sardine catch directly contributed to the decreased fish landing of Karnataka in this fishing season 2018 - 19.
Prathibha Rohit, Head of CMFRI Mangaluru said that their research suggested that after the onset el-nino, Indian Oil Sardines will be lesser. The change in climate conditions following El-nino has resulted in the movement of sardines away from the coast.
“Even the ones caught were stunted in growth and the adults were not spawning, so there were no sardines in the sea,” she added.