Immature fish sold at throwaway prices at Vypin

Immature fish sold at throwaway prices at Vypin
A scene from Vypin fish market

Vypin: The catching of immature, smaller fish is going on unabated in the sea off Kerala despite strict directives from authorities against the practice. Last week, fishing vessels brought large quantities of juvenile squid to the fishing harbour here at the Vypin Island which is part of Kerala's Ernakulam district.

Experts say such unscientific fishing is destroying the fish wealth and the scarcity of fish experienced these days is due to such unchecked practices.

It is alleged that banned nets and unscientific methods are used to catch immature fish. Other than the extinction of these species, such large-scale fishing aimed at short-term profits could lead to big financial loss in future, warn experts.

While fully grown squids could fetch Rs 350 for a kg in the market, the undersized fish were sold for a paltry Rs 40 at the harbour. If such fish are sold by the tonnes, experts point out that the ultimate loss to the fish biomass could be massive.

Apart from squids, undersized ‘uluvaachi’ and ‘kilimeen’ are also caught in huge quantities and sold at the harbours. Fishing workers themselves admit that juvenile fish are caught using "illegal" nets by pair trawling.

Fishermen here said that boats from other states are mostly engaged in this type of fishing. Fishermen from Kerala are against such fishing but they can’t do much. However, authorities are shying away from taking from strict action.

Earlier, after complaints authorities used to visit the harbours and took action against boats and fishermen who caught juvenile fish.

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