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Thursday, April 12, 2012

huge haul of Soorai fish at Pazhaverkadu after temblor

A popular joke in Tamil film – ‘eating fish is good to eyes’ – if not ‘good to the fish’ !!

Unclassified fish at an aquarium

On 11th April 12, after the temblor with tsunami apprehension, people stayed away from the sea – not many fishermen would have ventured into the sea.  But for those fishermen of  Pazhaverkadu (Pulicat lake) in the Tamilnadu – Andhra border things were different.  This lagoon is fed by Arani river, Kalangi river and Swarnamukhi.  The lagoon’s water is mixed with that of Bay of Bengal through an inlet channel and the Buckingham Canal, once a navigable channel is a part of this.  TV news stated that ‘tons of soorai fish’ were caught by local fishermen during the this time – reports further stated that this fish sells well @ around Rs.1500/- a kg.  

Certainly nobody to write on ‘fish and fishing’ – Soorai in Tamil is perhaps ‘little tunny’ (Euthynnus alletteratus),  the most common tuna profoundly found  in the Atlantic Ocean. It is native of warm temperate and tropical waters of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean.  Occurring in large schools and weighing up to 36 pounds, it is the smallest member of the tuna Scombridae family, Commonly called "false albacore" or "albie", it resembles the Atlantic bonito, skipjack tuna and species of mackerel.  Commercially, the fish is used as bait for sharks and marlin due to its high oil content and hook retention.

The larger variety – Tuna – are salt water fishes from the family Scombridae, particularly of the genus Thunnus. Tuna are fast swimmers, and some species are capable of speeds of 70 km/h (43 mph). Tuna is an important commercial fish.  According to the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation, Tunas are widely but sparsely distributed throughout the oceans of the world.  The  Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), the government trade promotion body, has been focusing on promotion of the tuna fish industry for about two years now. The trade promotion body appointed  a consultant from Australia for tapping the marine wealth,  which needs special skill for fishing, handling and preservation.

It seems like specialized skill of catching Tuna (cruel also) – boats go deep into the sea and long lines, running for kilometers, catches tuna, which is  struck on the head at a particular point to numb it. Its fins are removed, the brain gutted out and a spike introduced through the spinal cord. The blood-drained tuna is then immediately chilled so that its freshness is not lost and this requires cold chain on every boat.  Taken to shore, they ae ice packed and transported to markets for good price.  

Elsewhere months ago, a Japanese restaurateur  parted with almost half a million pounds for a single bluefin tuna at the first auction of the year at Tokyo's Tsukiji market. Kiyoshi Kimura, who runs a chain of sushi restaurants, paid 56.5m yen (£473,000) for the 269-kg fish, which carries enough flesh for an estimated 10,000 pieces of sushi. The businessman, who runs the Sushi-Zanmai chain of 46 restaurants, also claimed he was acting on behalf of homegrown sushi lovers, who for the past three years have seen the first big fish of the season snapped up by overseas bidders.

Tuna being attractive market, it is often stated that bigger trawlers enter Indian waters illegally to catch the fish.   Fishing federations have been complaining about foreign vessels illegally fishing in Indian waters, mostly  between November and April, when tuna fish pass through the Indian Ocean. By law, India permits only domestic vessels in its national waters and the exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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