Visakhapatnam: The dwindling catch in the Bay of Bengal has led to disillusionment among sea-food lovers across the State as prices of all popular varieties of sea fish have skyrocketed leaving the seafood lovers with no option but to shell out more bucks in order to enjoy their favourite delicacies.
Prices of most popular varieties have shot up exorbitantly, including Silver Pomfret (Chanduva in local parlance) which now costs around Rs 1,500 a kg, seer fish (Konem) costing Rs 1,000 to Rs1,200 per kg, Indian salmon priced between Rs 600 and Rs 800 per kg, among other popular types.
In normal circumstances between December and March, fishing harbours in Vizag, Kakinada, Machilipatnam, Vadarevu, Kalingapatnam and other places in Andhra Pradesh, become a beehive of activities owing to the peak fishing season. But, this time, there is such a hectic activity.
There are over 2,200 mechanized fishing boats in Andhra Pradesh and over 60 per cent of the boats stay anchored (idle only) at the jetties due to poor catch of fish and prawns in the blue water.
A majority of boat owners have lost hopes of a good catch due to unusual decrease in Bay of Bengal’s fishing zone, said President of Dolphin Boat Operators’ Welfare Association, Ch Satyanarayana Murthy.
Officials of Fisheries Department said that the exports of fish and prawns from Vizag region have decreased in 2019 when compared to the year before. Fishermen managed to get 66,542 tonnes of sea fish and 18,500 tonnes of prawns in 2019 in the Vizag region while it was 74,600 tonnes and 26,600 tonnes, respectively in 2018, they added.
The prices of seer fish, silver Pomfret, tiger prawn and few other popular varieties of seafood have almost doubled. Not many are willing to buy at those rates. The hoteliers also have increased the prices, said K Sudhakar, who supplies fish and prawns to hotels and restaurants in Vizag
Global warming and sea-pollution are adding to the woes given the decrease in catch. Now, venturing into the sea for fishing with mechanized boats means incurring losses, said the owner of a mechanized boat owner M Ramu.
Vizag is famous for seafood. But, now the city is losing its sheen as the prices of the popular varieties are beyond the common man’s reach, said T Anil Kumar, seafood lover in Vizag.