To have a sumptuous meal with yummy fish curry or fry is not an easy task these days, with the prices of fish sure to burn a hole in the pocket of buyers.
According to fish merchants, the prices are expected to increase further in the coming days. The minimum rate of the fish varieties in the city begins at ` 100. Diesel price rise, less availability of sea fish and Koodankulam agitation have all contributed to the fish prices continuing on an upward spiral.
“The fish wealth is decreasing drastically. Adding to that, the rise in diesel prices is causing much loss to the fishermen. We can infer that the prices may again go up if things continue in this manner,” said Safarullah, a fish merchant in the city.
With local people at Koodankulam intensifying their protest against the nuclear plant, the fish market here has received a big blow. “At Koodankulam, many are not going for fishing. Hence, the availability of fish from there is less. Compared to the situation last year, the availability of fish varieties has fallen drastically,” said T Peter, president of the Kerala Swathanthra Matsya Thozhilali Federation.
The local fish vendors said that they were not intentionally increasing the rates, and that the price rise had affected the market as a whole. ‘’Though the prices are increasing, there are still takers for the fish,’’ they added.
“From the state, we cannot collect all the varieties that the buyers ask for. The much sought-after items come from outside the state like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Goa. This, in turn, increases the cost of transportation, thanks to the recent diesel price hike. The price range is unpredictable and it varies according to the nature of each market. Still, there are takers, but they buy lesser quantities,” said Mohammed Sayeed, a fish dealer at Alamcode.
Though people are still buying fish, many are disappointed as they are not getting the preferred varieties. “Some varieties are not available in the market. It thus makes it difficult to meet the demand of customers at times,” said Shyam N V, of Fresh Co Fish at Vellayambalam.