India’s marine fish production was down by 9 per cent in 2018 at 3.49 million tonnes against 3.83 million tonnes in the previous year.

The decline was mainly because of reduced catch in West Bengal, Karnataka and Maharashtra, registering a drop of 2.01 lakh tonnes, 0.95 lakh tonnes and 0.86 lakh tonnes respectively, A Gopalakrishnan, Director, Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI), said.

Cyclone effect

There was a considerable reduction in the number of fishing days in West Bengal, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry following cyclonic storms, he added.

Releasing the annual marine fish landing data, he pointed out that oil sardine catch from the Indian coasts suffered a sharp decline of 54 per cent as the fish fell to the ninth position from the first spot. The sardine catch dropped to 1.55 lakh tonnes all over India from 3.37 lakh tonnes in 2017.

CMFRI has already predicted sardine shortage on the Indian coast due to the El Nino phenomenon that had affected reproduction of the species. An anomaly was noticed on the west coast during the peak period of El Nino with sea surface temperature rising by 2-3 degrees as against the average 0.6-0.8 per cent, he said. Among the nine maritime States, Gujarat remained in the first position in the landings with 7.80 lakh tonnes, followed by Tamil Nadu (7.02 lakh tonnes) and Kerala (6.43 lakh tonnes). Unusually huge catch of red toothed trigger fish (about 72,000 tonnes) was another highlight of the estimates, with Karnataka recording high landings of this species.

The data also showed that Indian mackerel (2.84 lakh tonnes) was the most landed marine fish in the country, followed by cephalopods (2.21 lakh tonnes), non-penaeid prawns (1.94 lakh tonnes), ribbon fish (1.94 lakh tonnes) and penaeid prawns (1.84 lakh tonnes).

Kerala scene

In Kerala, the oil sardine catch fell to 77,093 tonnes from 1.27 lakh tonnes in 2017 with a decline of 39 per cent. However, the State registered a 10 per cent increase with 6. 42 lakh tonnes in total landings with all other major resources except oil sardine recording increased catch.

As in the overall landings in India, the Indian mackerel (80,568 tonnes) turned out to be the most abundant resource in Kerala too with a significant increase of 142 per cent. The other major resources topped in the State were anchovies (58,766 tonnes), threadfin breams (53,549 tonnes), penaeid prawns (50,472 tonnes) and cephalopods (50,180 tonnes).