CIFT expects ₹130-cr loss to Kerala fishermen due to lockdown

Our Bureau Kochi | Updated on May 04, 2020

The Central Institute of Fisheries Technology has estimated an income loss of ₹130 crore to fishermen in Kerala during the lockdown period.

According to CIFT experts, most fishers were confined to their homes and not able to go out fishing. Fishermen stranded at seas on-board trawlers could not land as landing centres were closed. There are about 22,000 crafts that ply the Kerala coast — of which, 27 per cent are non-motorised, 51 per cent motorised and 22 per cent mechanised — with a fish production of about 6.4 lakh tonnes.

As the uncertainty in the sector due to pandemic continues, the institute has come up with suggestions that will help to revive the sector, on which around 10 lakh labourers depend for their livelihood. According to experts, fishermen can be allowed on board with proper preventive measures in place and following all guidelines as stipulated by the government.

Need for review

CIFT Director, CN Ravishankar, suggested reviewing the current restriction of five crew, as this has excluded a large portion of fishers from going fishing. Social distancing and proper sanitisation practices should be followed on-board and during landing. Awareness should be created through social media and also traditional methods to ensure that all the stakeholders along the supply chain are sensitised to the preventive measures to be taken.

Price fixation has been taken over by harbour management committees. This has reduced the fluctuations in primary market prices, as the price of a particular species remains the same no matter when it is landed. This practice can continue even after the lockdown is completely lifted and conditions return to normal as this is beneficial to both the fisherman and the consumer.

Bringing fish to landing centres and harbours are also to be carried out amidst restrictions. This is mainly to avoid overcrowding, which is normally a distinct feature in these places, with several stakeholders like auctioneers, loading and unloading workers, ice-breaking workers, traders, people engaged in transporting fish, etc., being found inside landing centres and harbours.

Published on May 04, 2020

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