Oil sardine stock along the Kerala coast is likely to suffer a major setback during the coming years due to the El Ni\u00f1o factor, according to the state-run Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI). India is the second-largest fish producer in the world after China and accounts for nearly 6% of global fish production. Scientists at the institute are of the view that El Nino is the major factor that causes decline in the oil sardine stock.\u00a0 After studying the data of fluctuations in the production of the oil sardine for last 60 years, the scientists at the Pelagic Fisheries division of the CMFRI concluded that El Ni\u00f1o has an impact on the biological cycle of the sardines. \u201cAlthough a record catch of nearly four lakh tonne of oil sardine was recorded in the state in 2012, a gradual decrease was recorded in the landings during the following years, owing to the development of El Ni\u00f1o,\u201d said EM Abdussamad, principal scientist at CMFRI. A sharp decline in sardine catch to about 46,000 tonne was recorded in 2016, following a strong El Ni\u00f1o year in 2015. With the intensity of the El Ni\u00f1o decreasing, the sardine catch registered an increase in 2017, he added. \u201cIndian oil sardine is a sensitive pelagic fish whose biological cycle will easily be upset even due to slight differences in ocean ecosystem. The impact of El Ni\u00f1o is more evident along Kerala coasts than other areas of the country. Hence, the fluctuation in oil sardine catch is always high along the south west coast\u201d, he added. He said that the oil sardine in Kerala coast suffered growth retardation and spawning failure in 2015 and 2016 due to El Ni\u00f1o. Read Also| Cement firms\u2019 capacity utilisation may remain moderate \u201cWhat is more alarming now is that El Ni\u00f1o has struck again even before the resource recovered from biological stress like spawning failure in full scale which is likely to cause further troubles to the sardine stock in Kerala,\u201d he said. \u201cEl Ni\u00f1o has been proved to be seriously influencing the growth and reproduction of oil sardine resources in this coast. In addition, it has been noted that sardine used to migrate from Kerala to other coasts during El Ni\u00f1o years,\u201d Abdussamad said. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) also stated that 2018 was an evolving El Ni\u00f1o year and that 2019 may be warmer due to El Ni\u00f1o and global warming, CMFRI sources said.