The fisher folk of
Kerala have been hard hit following demonetisation of high value currency notes
with the move hitting traditional fishing activities.

“What’s the use of going out into the sea, as on an average a motorised
fishing boat which returns after fishing has an approximate catch valued at Rs
one lakh and upwards. Since the past two days, things are tough as not many are
there to take part in the auction,” said Dayanandan, a fisherman in
Kollam.

Kollam, Kochi, Thrissur, Kozhikode, Kannur asnd Kasargode besides Vizhinjam in
the capital city are fish landing centres in the state. Since the government’s
surprise announcement of demonetisation on Tuesday night, fewer boats are now
venturing into the deep sea.

At these fish landing centres, as soon as a boat arrives with the catch, it is
auctioned at the shore itself and money changes hands.

“We are all very ordinary people and not experienced in new technology
banking transactions such as online banking, net transfer and such things. We
carry money with us, and today none is accepting the notes that have been
withdrawn for fear of getting into unnecessary complications. And hence, things
have turned for the worse,” said G. Charles, a trade union leader in the
sector who still has not come to terms with Tuesday night’s demonetisation
move.

Teresa, a woman who sells fish in the capital city, is upset that customers
wanting to buy fish have only Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denomination notes.

“What will I do with these notes? Even if I take these, I will find it
difficult to change them, and if I don’t take them, then tomorrow I won’t be
able to buy fish. I have decided to sell fish to those only who come with legal
money. I sold a kilo of seerfish for just Rs 250 a kilo, while the average
price is Rs 500 and upwards. From tomorrow (Saturday), I will bring only low
value fish so that it can be purchased using Rs 100 notes and other legal
tender,” said an angry Teresa.

With the traditional fishing activities coming to a grinding halt, a few online
fish vendors are seeing sales zoom.

“We have not increased the price at all, and the only thing we have
requested our clients is to either make purchases by making payments using
cards or give us legal tender,” said an official attached to an online
fish sales company.