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Maharashtra: India: Low fish catch along India’s western coast hints at impacts of climate change by Kapil Kajal August 03,2020   |  Source: Mongabay

Fish catch from the western coast of India has declined, according to the Marine Fish Landings Report 2019 by the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI). Climate scientists attribute this drop to the increasing pollution, global warming and a decrease in phytoplankton population. In 2019, Maharashtra, on India’s west coast, witnessed the lowest annual catch in 45 years, reveals an estimate from previous CMFRI reports, with a steep decline in all the fish species being caught.

The total estimated fish landings (fish catch that arrives at the ports) in the state stood at 201,000 (2.01 lakh) tonnes in 2019 against 295,000 (2.95 lakh) tonnes in 2018, marking a 32% decrease, the latest report, released last month, added. Most of the fish catch came from Mumbai city district, followed by Raigad and Ratnagiri. Apart from the non-penaeid prawns, every other fish species showed decreased landings in comparison to 2018.

K.V. Akhilesh, a scientist with CMFRI Mumbai, stated that extreme weather patterns, extended rainy season and continuous large-volume exploitation of young fish/juveniles are the major reasons for low catch. These extreme weather events are the result of climate change and are likely to increase in the coming years, he said.

- Maharashtra

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