India, May 4 -- Sardines, considered the common man's food in south India because of its affordability is thinning on dining tables as dwindling catch has sent the cost of the fish soaring by 400% to 800% in Kerala.

Scientists attribute the falling harvest to climate change and El Nino effect.

P J Lawrence has been a fisherman for 30 of his 45 years and an expert in spotting the catch. A native of Vizinjam he was once most sought after because of his ability to locate the shining schools of sardines by gauging water movement and light. But the ever dwindling catches have sent cost of sardine fishing up.

"What is disturbing is that oil sardine is depleting fast. Since it is the main prey of other predator varieties their numbers are als...