Mumbai: The scarcity of fish has led to an increase in demand for mutton, the price of which has gone up to Rs 580 per kg from Rs 450-500.
Also, this shortage of fish will persist at least for the next 10 days, in Mumbai and the adjoining metropolitan market, says Sanjay Koli, a fish supplier and president of the Vasai Fisher Association.
Explaining the reason, Koli said, "Earlier, fishing activity was affected by the Maha Cyclone, as fishermen were warned against venturing out into the sea.
The alert may be withdrawn by November 8. But even though fishing activity resumes, it will obviously take a while before supply meets the demand.
Another factor that comes into play is that fishing activity is carried out in the deep sea, since that is where the fish that are most in demand -- such as Pomfret, Kingfish (Surmai), Mackarel (Bangda) and Salmon (Rawas) -- can be found.
Usually, to venture deep sea from the shore takes at least 17 hours. Add to this the fact that fishermen return to shore only after they have netted the catch that they consider to be sufficient.
This period varies from 8-10 days. So, considering all these factors, the supply of fish may not immediately meet the demand."
The fish scarcity is forcing non-vegetarians to opt for mutton, thus pushing up its demand and price. So, goat meat, which earlier cost between Rs 450 and Rs 500 per kg, now costs Rs 580.
Commenting on this cross-over from fish to mutton, ardent sea-food lover Praveen Kothari said, “My family enjoys sea-food and we consume fish at least thrice a week.
But the soaring price of seafood is burning a hole in my pocket and disrupting our food budget. So, we now prefer mutton since we can get fresh stock, which is not the case with sea-food.”
On the commercial side, even restaurants that serve sea-food have been impacted by the shortage of fish. Popular sea-food restaurant Sandeep Gomatank’s owner Pradeep Amolkar said they are meeting demand by sourcing fish through suppliers from other states such as Kolkata and Andhra Pradesh. But Amolkar reassured that despite this, he has chosen not to pass on this burden to his consumers.