KOCHI: The price of oil sardines hit a record high of Rs 320 per kg in Kochi on Friday due to the scarcity of the popular fish. The fall in the arrival of the fish from Tamil Nadu has also tightened the supply situation leading to a spike in prices, traders said. In Thoppumpady market in Kochi the price quoted ranged between Rs 300-Rs 320 per kg.
The availability of oil sardines, a favourite in fish-based cuisine in the state, has shown a drastic decline in the past few years after a record catch in 2012 due to reasons as varied as over fishing and climate change. Oil sardines have nearly disappeared from the Kerala shores since January and the local market is catered by supply from Tamil Nadu, says Charles George general convener of Fishermen Coordination Committee.
The supply mainly from Rameshwaram, Kadavur and Nagapattanam lands in five hub markets in the state such as Aluva, Kalamukku, Chettuva, Moonupeedika and Ponnani before being distributed to other parts of the state, he said.
A shortfall in the supply from Tamil Nadu might have prompted the hike in the past few days, he said. The people in Tamil Nadu are not known for their liking of the fish considered as delicacy in Kerala. Oil sardines catch in Kerala has shown a record decline in 2016 with the catch dwindling to 48,000 tonnes. Although it had made sharp recovery in 2017 with a catch 1.27 lakh tonne in the Kerala Coast the catch slipped further in 2018 down to 77,000 tonne ruling out a recovery of the oil sardine in Kerala shores.
Although scientists in Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) says a cyclical pattern in the availability of the fish in the Kerala Coast they are also not ruling out over fishing and climate change impacting the catch in the recent past....