The monsoon ban on fishing ended on August 15, and fishermen are back at sea. But is it safe to eat seafood?
Authorities say Mumbaiites can eat fish but should avoid seafood such as crabs, clams and oysters as the oil spill following the ship collision is likely to have affected the habitats of these creatures found closer to the shores.
Officials, however, did not specify the timeframe to avoid these items.
On August 10, three days after the collision, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation had taken 138 samples of local varieties of fish such as mandeli, red prawns and Bombay duck from 30 civic markets and tested them.
The Thin Layer Chromatography (TLC) test on these samples, conducted at the National Institute of Oceanography and a private institute, showed no traces of oil. “No trace of oil has been found on any of the samples. But fish-eaters should be cautious,” said Deepak Kamat, assistant municipal commissioner, markets department.
Following this, the state’s fisheries department decided not to extend the ban on fishing.
The state government, however, has issued an advisory to fishermen saying they should not fish close to the shores and should fish beyond five fathoms deep or around 20 feet.
“There is no problem with fishing in the high seas because the pollution, if any, is along the coast,” said Rajesh Aggarwal, fisheries secretary.
The department is posting boats at Turbhe, Mahul creek, Elephanta and Uran to warn fishermen.
However, Mayor Shraddha Jadhav warned that contamination of fish is still a possibility and people should be cautious.
“The civic body’s report shows there is no contamination, so now they should urge the people to eat fish,” said Damodar Tandel, president of the Akhil Maharashtra Machhimar Kriti Samiti, who along with 50 other fisherfolk met the Jadhav on Monday.