“Due to the weather condition fishermen didn’t go in the sea from November 7, earlier we used to receive over 200 tonnes of seafood, post lockdown it reduced to 80 – 100 tonnes as only 25 per cent of fishermen went for fishing, and now as they are not allowed for fishing in the deep sea for the past two weeks we have been getting only 10 - 12 tonnes of seafood, so there is almost 80 per cent of shortage in the supply,” said Nanjil P Ravi, spokesperson of Akila Indhiya Meenavar Makkal Sangam.
More than 50 boats got sunk into the sea when there was strong wind. Besides, due to space constraints in Kasimedu fishing harbour majority of the boats were damaged for which the fishermen don’t have enough money for maintenance too.
Fishermen are now worried that the rates for fishing materials have also increased drastically. A fishing net was sold for Rs 300, which has increased to Rs 600, mat placed inside the boat to prevent water getting inside has also increased from Rs 1,800 to Rs 4,000, and wooden logs went up to Rs 300 from Rs 150.
“Earlier, when the diesel price surged, we were witnessing some profit as the seafood prices also increased but now the situation is worse. Even though we are getting only 10 tonnes of fish, there is no rise in demand and prices, the rates have come down. The retailers are also not buying as usual because as many areas are still waterlogged, they are unable to come down or purchase anything,” said Murali K, a fisherman at Kasimedu fish market.
However, the State Fisheries Department claims that the fishermen's business has not been much impacted during the recent rains, and now the situation has normalised as they are back for fishing.
A senior official of the Tamil Nadu Fisheries Department said, “Only at some portions between Cuddalore to Tiruvallur a warning was given for fishermen, and seafood supplied through agencies from other areas has not impacted the business. However, from Saturday the fishermen are back to their routine work. Also, only due to increase in fuel prices, so fewer boats went for the catch, which leads to 20 - 30percent of a supply shortage of seafood.”