February 29, 2024

Fish scarcity off the Kerala coast has intensified into a ‘fish drought’, leading to stranded traditional canoes and small fishing boats. Rising sea temperatures have affected the availability and price of fish, with mackerel and sardines becoming more expensive and anchovies virtually disappearing from the market. Fishermen are reporting little sardine catch while mackerels are more abundant, prompting some to switch boats in search of better fortune. The situation has been attributed to active El Nino conditions heating up sea water, which has caused some species of fish to move from near waters to deeper areas. The recovery of the oil sardine fishery has been a major highlight, with a significant increase in catch in 2022. Traditional fishermen’s unions are calling for self-regulation and government intervention to address the issue, citing the need for restrictions on traditional fishing activities and measures to combat juvenile fishing. Fishermen are facing significant losses due to the fish drought, and they are hopeful that measures will be taken to improve the situation.

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