Udupi: It has been a bumper catch for the fishermen in Malpe of Udupi district this season. Unfortunately, that became a curse for them due to the chronic power cut in the state. The fishermen here are forced to sell their catch at very low prices, after a severe shortage in ice supply since the past 15 days.
Dinesh Amin Kadike, a boat owner from Malpe, said, “This has been a bumper season for the fishermen, especially of squids and mackerels. Small boats that used to go fishing and return after five to six days are now coming back in two or three days with approximately two tonnes of squids. Same is the case of big boats.”
According to Kadike, the boats that used to go on a 15-day voyage are now returning within a week. These boats yield around 1.5 tonnes of squids, 500 kg of cuttlefish, 2-3 tonnes of rani fish, 200 kg of ribbon fish and so on. “The large fish catch has led to shortage in ice supply. For every one tonne of fish, nearly 600 kg of ice is required,” he said.
Fall in mackerel market
Some of the fresh catch, including squid, need immediate preservation. But the price of mackerels was the worst hit. Last week, the price of mackerel per kg dropped to Rs 20 from an average of Rs 70-80 per kg. Ever since, there has been a shortage of ice, and mackerels are being sold for Rs 40 per kg. The price of sardines too dropped to Rs 8 from an average of Rs 20 per kg.
Hiriyanna Kidiyoor, president of the Malpe Fisherman’s Association, said, “We have sufficient ice plants in the district. But the shortage in ice is mainly due to the power cuts. With high fish landings, we are facing nearly 40 per cent shortage of ice supply.”