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Southeast Asia to bring king fish to Malayali platter

With its availability having come down in recent times, a kilo of king fish is now priced at around Rs 1,500.

FISHTHIRUVANANTHAPURAM: King fish aka neymeen, one of the most sought-after fish among Malayalis, will soon be reaching the seafood lovers’ platter all the way from Southeast Asia.

With its availability having come down in recent times, a kilo of king fish is now priced at around Rs 1,500. Leading fish exporters and importers from the state have held talks with stakeholders in Europe and Southeast Asia to meet the demand as they feel the purchasing power of Keralites has increased.

Malayalis identify king fish by several names, like surmai, seer fish, and aiykoora. Considered the most delectable of fish, it has become highly expensive over the past several months. Its price almost doubled during the period, making it unaffordable for an average Malayali family.

Mathew Joseph, the brain behind India’s first digital fresh fish and meat store Fresh to Home, told TNIE that he has been involved in talks to import king fish. “The landing of king fish on the Kerala coast has come down, making it a rarity in the local markets. Its price in Kerala has risen beyond the international market rate. This has led a few of us, fish exporters and importers, to seriously look into the aspect of importing king fish from Europe and Southeast Asia,” Mathew said.

At the same time, he said the price of imported king fish may not come down quickly as the demand among the upper middle class continues to be huge. The king fish season starts after June, pointed out Saju Ambrose who runs the restaurant Kadaloram near Vettucaud Church.

“Normally, king fish catch comes from the coastal areas of Kollam, Alappuzha and Ernakulam. Albeit rarely, it is spotted in Vizhinjam too. On Monday, a three-kilo king fish was auctioned off for Rs 4,200 there. My clientele won’t buy fish at such an exorbitant price,” Saju said.

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