No fishes for waiting baits: Fish prices hiked by over 130% in 5 years

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Hyderabad, Aug 11: Wholesale fish prices saw a rise by 131 per cent during past five years as India's growing appetite for fish due to different reasons like rising per-capita income, urbanisation and ever-evolving eating patterns.

"While index value of fish was just over 126 during 2008-09, it rose past 291 as of 2012-13 due to a combination of factors like falling fish catch owing to rising water pollution, dumping of plastic and other harmful materials, absence of organized retail in fish trade, persistence of age-old distribution system, post-harvest losses, rising operating costs due to unabated diesel price rise and other such reasons resulting in high wastage and spoilage of fisheries resources," according to a sector-specific analysis of fish prices conducted by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India, as told to Andhra Headlines.

No fishes for waiting baits

The growth of fish production has declined from about seven per cent in 2008-09 to just about 3.5 per cent during 2012-13, which is almost half, it highlighted.

"Wholesale inland fish prices rose by a whopping 200 per cent and marine fish prices rose by about 91 per cent during the aforesaid period," said D.S. Rawat, national secretary general of ASSOCHAM while releasing the chamber's analysis.

"Rising fish prices has made the business financially unviable for fishing community and all the stakeholders, traders, processors and others involved in fishing related ancillary operations," said Mr Rawat.

India's traditional fishing communities are even over-exploiting coastal waters thereby leading to fast depletion of marine resources and shrinking catch from coastal regions.

Lack of proper post-harvest fish handling infrastructure in India led to wastage of about 25 per cent of total fisheries resources thereby causing a staggering Rs 15,000-crore annual losses, the ASSOCHAM said.

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