India's marine fish catch has dropped by 5.3 per cent in 2015 compared to the previous year, with oil sardines recording the sharpest fall of 51 per cent, the city-headquartered Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) said today.
As per CMFRI's scientific data, which was released here, the overall marine fish landings in the country dropped to 3.40 million tonnes during 2015 against 3.59 million tonnes in 2014, recording a fall of 1.89 lakh tonnes (5.3 per cent).
In a major setback for the fisheries, a sharp decline of 2.79 lakh tonnes (51 per cent) has been recorded in the landings of oil sardines mainly in the south west coast comprising Kerala, Karnataka and Goa.
"A catch of 2.66 lakh tonnes oil sardines were recorded during 2015 against 5.45 lakh tonnes during 2014. The contribution of oil sardine, which is the single largest contributor, towards the total catch reduced from 15 per cent in 2014 to eight per cent in 2015," it said.
The catch of other important species/groups recorded during 2015 are lesser sardines 2.56 lakh tonnes, Indian mackerel 2.38 lakh tonnes, penaeid prawns 1.99 lakh tonnes, ribbon fishes 1.77 lakh tonnes, threadfin breams 1.63 lakh tonnes, croakers 1.55 lakh tonnes, non-penaeid prawns 1.49 lakh tonnes, scads 1.12 lakh tonnes and Bombay duck 1.10 lakh tonnes.
Among these, the catch of lesser sardines, Indian mackerel, threadfin breams and scads improved compared to the last year while the other resources showed decrease in catch.
The high value fish Hilsa Shad, which is the main driver for the success of the fishery in West Bengal, showed improvement in the landings from 5,247 tonnes in 2014 to 20,659 tonnes in 2015, CMFRI said.
Of the nine maritime states and two union territories,
Gujarat ranked first with landings of 7.21 lakh tonnes (21.2 per cent of share towards total catch) followed by Tamil Nadu with 7.09 lakh tonnes (20.8 per cent share) and Kerala 4.82 lakh tonnes (14.2 per cent share).
According to the scientists who estimated the data, after the all-time high landings of 3.94 million tonnes in 2012, the marine fish catch in the country is showing a decreasing trend every year, four per cent in 2013, five per cent in 2014 and 5.3 per centin 2015.
However, the data showed, the value based on the price at landing centre increased to Rs 40,100 crores, a 26.3 per cent rise over the last year and registered 24.3 per cent growth at the retail level, touching Rs. 65,180 crores.
The unit price per kg of fish at landing centre recorded Rs 118 (32.8 per cent increase) and Rs 191 at retail level (30.8 per cent increase).
Kerala had the highest realisation of prices both at the landing and retail centers, registering a growth of 36.4 per cent and 33.5 per cent respectively over 2014.
According to the data, a remarkable decline of 16 per cent was recorded in marine fish landings in Kerala during 2015.
The overall fish landings in Kerala fell from 5.76 lakh tonnes during 2014 to 4.82 lakh tonnes during 2015.
In comparison to 2013, the decrease was 14 per cent in 2014 and it further decreased by 16 per cent now. A sharp drop in landings of oil sardine caused the drop in the total catch.
Oil sardine, the most dominated species along the coast since 1961, except for a few years between 1994 and 1996, was replaced by Indian mackerel in 2015. In Kerala, nearly 80 per cent of fish are landed by trawl and ringseine.
It said West Bengal contributed 3.5 per cent to the total marine fish landings with 1.19 lakh tonnes in 2015. Landings of Hilsa Shad slightly recovered after a dramatic drop in 2014.
"With a production of about 16,300 tonnes in 2015, Hilsa ranks first among the five most caught species in the state," it said.
The landings in Odisha improved to 1.41 lakh tonnes with a growth of 1.7 per cent. Lesser sardines, croakers and penaeid prawns, the three major resources formed more than one third of the landings.