Tuna from the islands fetches high value in global market due to its least histamine content
Direct export of fresh tuna fish from Lakshadweep to Japan, via Bengaluru, through air cargo began on Sunday.
This would fetch international market for premium- quality tuna from the Lakshadweep islands during monsoon, even amidst the pandemic restrictions.
Having over 20,000 sq km of territorial water, the high-value fish abounds on the Lakshadweep coast. More than 60% of the population of the islands is dependent on fishing for livelihood. Of the 12,500 households on the islands, there are 7,197 registered fishermen who operate 2,158 fishing boats.
The Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) estimates that Lakshadweep can harvest up to 1 lakh tonnes of tuna annually, says a press release issued by the Fisheries Director of Lakshadweep.
Devoid of chemicals
The islands are devoid of any polluting industries which ensure that no chemicals leach into the aquatic system, making its marine resources free of contaminants. Tuna from the islands is known to have the least histamine content, mainly due to its traditional hook and line fishing methods and short fishing durations. Pole and line, a globally acclaimed sustainable fishing method for tuna, is practised only on Lakshadweep islands in India. This fetches the fish a high price in the international market, it the release says.
Three containerised ice plants with German technology were installed on Minicoy, Agatti and Amini Islands, besides around 20-tonne capacity cold-storage facilities and other infrastructure.
A Bengaluru-based company which has a chilled EU (European Union) export plant and which exports fish and fisheries products to Japan imparted training to fishermen on good handling practices. It also negotiated with Alliance Air (Air India) for a subsidised rate to transport fish from Agatti to Bengaluru.
A trial consignment of chilled tuna reached Bengaluru on Saturday. The company is planning to expand the trade with more quantity, chartering exclusive cargo flight with 5-tonne capacity daily from Agatti to Bengaluru for subsequent transport to Tokyo. This flight will bring essential commodities from Bengaluru to the islands and return with tuna fish.