A drastic drop in the catch of hilsa (ilishi) has brought into sharp focus endangered State ofsea fish. With the yield not encouraging this time,price has shot through roof makingfish out of platter of common men.
One can rarely find hilsa in local fish markets now-a-days. Hilsa is selling at as high as Rs 2,400-2,500 per kg in Paradip, depending on its size, informed president of Orissa Fishermen Federation Narayan Haldar.
“The drop in yield is unprecedented. Never before had hilsa catch fallen to such a low level. Those who had pinned their hopes on bountiful catch are left thoroughly disappointed this time," he informed.The delicious hilsa fish population is decimating fast this time. A few years back at this time of year, Kendrapada, Jagatasinghpur and its nearby fish markets used to be flooded with silvery hilsa. But nowfish has become a rare sight in ma rket. The fishermen are going to sea to catch fish as it is right time but to their irony hardly do they catch much, informed Haldar.Generally during low pressure, the fishermen catch abundant hilsa at confluence of river mouth of Mahanadi and Bay of Bengal.
But, this year in ongoing monsoon season, though low pressure rain has occurred enough on this coastal part, but hilsa catch has reduced a lot.Earlier, Covid -19 lockdown has affected livelihood of fishermen drastically. Besides, fishing ban has hit livelihood of fishers.Earlier, they had pinned hope in bumper catch of hilsa to compensate for loss, but low catch in August to mid September has left them sulking.The sea going fishermen dispose of their yield through auction in Paradip fishing harbour.
While nearly 10-15 per cent catch is sold off in local markets of Paradip civil township, Kujang, Kendrapada and Jagatsinghpur, bulk of produce is despatched to other parts of State. The hilsa supply to West Bengal, mainly Kolkata, has almost come to a grinding halt this year, solely due to lack of hilsa catch in the sea.