KOCHI: The catch of oil sardine from the Indian coasts suffered a sharp decline of 54 per cent as the fish fell to ninth position from top spot, according to marine fish landing estimates for the year 2018 (January-December).
The decline in oil sardine also contributed to a 9 per cent fall in total marine fish production in 2018 to 3.49 million tonne with a drop of 3.47 lakh tonne compared with the previous year.
The fall was mainly due to reduced catch in West Bengal, Karnataka and Maharashtra with a drop of 2.01 lakh, 0.95 lakh and 0.86 lakh tonnes respectively.
Speaking to reporters while releasing the data on Friday, Central Marine Fisheries Research Centre (CMFRI) director A. Gopalakrishnan said the climate change is one of the reasons for the decline in the oil sardines.
Among the nine maritime states, Gujarat remained in the first position in the landings with 7.80 lakh tonnes followed by Tamil Nadu (7.02 lakh tonnes) and Kerala (6.43 lakh tonnes). The unusually huge catch of red toothed trigger fish of about 72,000 tonnes was another highlight of the estimates, with Karnataka recording high landings of this species.
Dr. Gopalakrishnan said CMFRI scientists will look into the reasons for the high catch of the species mainly used for fish feed and fish meals.
Indian mackerel (2.84 lakh tonnes) is the most landed marine fish in the country during the year followed by cephalopods (2.21 lakh tonnes), non-penaeid prawns (1.94 lakh tonnes), ribbon fish (1.94 lakh tonnes) and penaeid prawns (1.84 lakh tonnes).
The catch of sardine dropped to 1.55 lakh tonnes all over India from 3.37 lakh tonnes in 2017.
In Kerala, the oil sardine catch fell to 77,093 tonne from 1.27 lakh tonne in 2017 with a decline of 39 per cent. However, the state registered a 10 per cent increase with 6. 42 lakh tonne in total landings compared to the previous year with all other major resources except oil sardine recording increased catch.
As in the overall landings in India, the Indian mackerel 80,568 tonne turned out to be the most abundant resource in Kerala too with a significant increase of 142 percent from the previous year. The other major resources topped in the state were anchovies (58,766 tonne), threadfin breams (53,549 tonne), penaeid prawns (50,472 tonne) and cephalopods (50,180 tonne)....