Spiking fuel prices discouraging local fishermen in India

Published on
April 20, 2022
A steep rise in the price of fuel is keeping local fishermen from plying their craft, resulting in a lower supply of fish.

A steep rise in the price of fuel is keeping local fishermen from plying their craft, resulting in a lower supply of fish and higher seafood prices across India.

In Old Port, in India’s Karnataka state, prices have surged by between 20 and 30 percent as fish landings dropped. On average, 10 fishing vessels were landing at the port two weeks ago, down from around 50 in the same period last year, The Times of India reported As a result, catches of premium fish including seer, white pomfret, and black pomfret were limited, though big-eye snapper, brown prawns, and mackerel supplies remained adequate to meet local demand.

“Only if there’s news of good catch [will it] spur some more boats to venture into the sea. The owners spend around INR 100,000 [USD 1,309, EUR 1,214] per trip, and without a good catch, [that] becomes unprofitable,” a local fisherman told the Times.

In Kochi, in Kerala state, fuel price-hikes are causing distress in the local fishing community, The New Indian Express reported 18 April.

“Kerosene is more expensive than petrol now. Around 60 percent of the fishermen has stopped venturing into the sea as fishing is no [longer] profitable,” Kerala Swatantra Matsya Thozhilali Federation President Jackson Pollayil said.

According to Munambam Boat Owners’ Coordination Committee Chairman P P Girish, a majority of fishing boats remain moored at Munambam harbor, unable to fish because their operating costs have doubled due to high diesel prices.

India’s government has set a national target for fisheries production at 22 million metric tons (MT) by 2024-2025, up from 13.34 million MT in 2018-2019, according to India’s Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, and Dairying Parshottam Khodabhai Rupala.

Photo courtesy of Talukdar David/Shutterstock

Contributing Editor reporting from Hanoi, Vietnam

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