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Kerala: El Nino disturbances force Kerala's oil sardines to migrate June 13,2018   |  Source: The New Indian Express

Has El Nino, the phenomenon that disrupts normal weather patterns, affected the marine ecosystem of Kerala’s coastal waters? The warming of the coastal sea, the decline in plankton production, the varying rainfall pattern, the change in upwelling - a process by which the cold water from the deep rises to the surface- are all sending disturbing signals.

The recent findings suggested that oil sardine, Kerala’s favourite fish variety, is migrating towards Tamil Nadu coast at times of unfavourable conditions along the Kerala coast, like EL-Nino. Amidst the gloom, there is some silver lining. The state has recorded a 170 per cent increase in the landing of sardines. While the annual landing of sardine stood at 48,000 tonnes in 2016-17, the figure went up to 1.25 lakh tonnes in 2017-18 recording a steep increase of around 77,000 tonnes.

The decrease in spawning efficiency and stunted growth have set alarm bells ringing for the fisheries sector. “The depletion of sardine stocks in Kerala’s coastal seas has adversely affected the livelihood of thousands of fishermen,” Matsya Thozhilali Aikya Vedi president Charles George told Express.“Sardine is the favourite fish variety for Keralities and the drop in catch has adversely affected the inboard fishing boats. Many

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Years in Support of Small Scale Fishworkers (1986 - 2018)