Millennium Post

Hilsa woes: Patchy rain puts dent in supply of Bengal's favourite fish, traders stare at loss

Kolkata: The monsoon platter of a Bengali is incomplete without Hilsa and the fish-lovers in the state are unhappy due to scarcity in its

supply. Even the Hilsas which are found in Digha Mohana have shrunk in size.

The shortage in the supply of Hilsa so far is due to patchy rains. The quantity of the fish found in Digha Mohana so far this year is also lesser in comparison to the figure in the corresponding month of the previous year.

The fishes which are stored after being brought from Myanmar naturally lose freshness and taste and hence they cannot be compared to the fresh catch that comes from Digha and Frazerganj.

Supplies of Hilsa have hit a five-year low in this season. Prices have gone up, as the customers are buying Hilsa in the retail market at Rs 1,200-1,300 per kg. In some cases, the prices are even higher in various markets across the city.

These fishes are comparatively smaller in size. Some of the good-sized Hilsas are mostly imported from Myanmar but they often lose freshness due to prolonged storage. Fresh catches from Bengal are always of better taste.

The experts are saying that lower rainfall in South Bengal has affected Hilsa migration from Bay of Bengal to the estuaries of Hooghly river. There has been no major landing of Hilsa since the beginning of Monsoon this year, which eventually impacted various local markets in the city and the districts.

Most of the Hilsas that are caught in Digha and Frazerganj are of smaller size.

It may be mentioned here that adult Hilsas migrate to fresh water for spawning. The young ones rear in the river channels and estuaries after they are hatched, before finally going to the sea. Fishermen often catch the Hilsa before migrating from the breeding grounds.

The fishermen community in Digha said that in last two days, the total catch in Digha Mohana weighed around 18 tonnes. On Monday, around 12 tonnes of hilsas have been caught in the area.

Fishes weighing between 500-600 grams cost around Rs 500-600, while those weighing around 700-900 grams are being sold at Rs 700-800 in the markets. Last year, the fishermen managed to catch 75-100 tonnes of Hilsa during this season.

The fishermen and fish traders are staring at a loss this year due to the shortage in production.

Next Story
Share it