Sea fish production fell by 16.7 million kilos (9.45 per cent) to 160 million kgs in the five months from February 2022 to June 2022 due to the fuel crisis which prevents fishers from going out to sea, latest Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) data showed. The comparative figure in the five months from February 2021 to June 2021 was 176.7 million kgs.
Sea fish production Year-on-Year (YoY) on a monthly basis in the five months from February to June 2022, for example, June 2022 over June 2021, has been continuously falling due to this crisis, statistics showed.
Only in January 2022, YoY over January 2021 fish production has seen an increase in the year thus far. Fish production in January 2022 increased by 1.7 million kgs (4.83 per cent) to 36.9 million kgs, with the comparative figure for January 2021 being 35.2 million kgs.
Consequently, fish production in the first six months of the year declined by 15 million kgs (7.62 per cent) YoY to 196.9 million kgs. The comparative figure of sea fish production for the first six months of last year was 211.9 million kgs.
Consequently, Census and Statistics Department data showed that the retail price of a kg of dried sprats as at last month end had increased by nearly Rs 1,100 (119 per cent) YoY to Rs 2,000, fresh Salaya fish by more than Rs 450 (135 per cent) to Rs 800 a kg, and Kelawalla by nearly Rs 1,300 (113 per cent) to Rs 2,755 a kg.
A recent FAO release quoting Fisheries State Ministry Secretary Jayantha Chandrasoma said, more than 50 per cent of animal protein requirements of Sri Lankans are obtained through fish consumption.
“But the increase in fish prices has impacted negatively on the affordability of fish and fisheries-related products, particularly for low-income groups,” the release further quoting Chandrasoma said.
By Paneetha Ameresekere