Despite recording high production of sardines (tarlo) and tuna (bokdo), which has doubled during the last five years in Goa, it is stated that these fish have no takers in the local market.
As per the data provided by Directorate of Fisheries, during the year 2011-12 sardine production was 25,110 tonne and in the last financial year it increased to 52,901 tonne; similarly the production of tuna has seen a sharp rise as in the year 2011-12 it was 3,121 tonne and it rose to 5,577 by 2015-16.
“As fishermen fail to find market locally for sardine and tuna fish, they are forced to sell the catch to agents who buy it either to export it or sell it to plants that produce fish oil and fish powder,” said a fisheries official.
The official said that Goans discard the tuna fish; hence, 90 per cent of the catch is exported to Kerala. He said the produced fish oil and fish powder have medicinal value and they are exported out of the state and the country. He said that the fish species which go unsold in the market are sent to plants which, through a process, turn the fish into fertilizer or an ingredient used in other foods.
“Even if we get catch of 40 kilogram of sardines at one go we hardly earn 2000 rupees in the market; sardines are also available for Rs 20 in the local market but yet it is difficult to find customers,” said Sanjay Pereira, a traditional fisherman from Cacra.
Devanand Lamani, a fish vendor from Panaji, stated that sardines are mostly preferred by Goans during monsoon as due to ban on fishing the rates of other fish increase substantially; however, the rate of sardines are slightly affected when compared to other species of fish.
“We do not buy sardines in bulk as most of the time we have to either store the fish in ice or send it back to jetty as waste and we incur heavy losses. You will also hardly find tuna in any fish market because locals hardly buy it,” said Lamani.