DHUBRI, Oct 11 - Fish lovers had a great time here as hilsa, one of the most preferred fish variety, flooded the local markets in the district, following a bumper catch. According to regular fish buyers, such an ‘unbelievable’ drop in price of hilsa has happened after almost four years. The unusually high yield has also resulted in a drastic fall in the price of the fish.
Thanks to the excess supply, hilsa, which normally costs Rs 900-1,200 a kg depending on the size of the fish, is now available at Rs 150-300 a kilo throughout the district. Traders here also believe that this year the availability of hilsa is considered much more compared to the previous years.
“Steamed hilsa is favourite among most of the people from this area. When we are getting hilsa at such a low price, why opt for other varieties,” said Gowahar Khan, a regular fish buyer, adding, “with the drop in price of hilsa, the poor and marginalised section of the society can easily afford this variety and enjoy their platter of hilsa, which is otherwise a distant dream for them.”
However, not only the fish lovers here are taking advantage of this price drop, traders from neighbouring West Bengal are thronging the markets of Dhubri in great numbers to buy hilsa in bulk.
Kabil SK, a fish wholesaler of the New Market here, said although at this time of the year this fish variety becomes available in this area, in the last few years, its availability has increased in Birchingchar, Jaleshwar, Fakirganj and Dhubri and its nearby river island areas. He said if this fish variety could be preserved for a longer period, both sellers and buyers could be benefited. “But hilsa can’t be preserved for more than 15 days,” he added.
Local environmentalist Pramod Roy said if such bulk fishing of this fish variety continues, it will affect the ecosystem of the river in the long run. “This fish variety travels upstream from the rivers of Bangladesh to Assam to lay eggs, but they are caught in the Dhubri area at their pregnant state. This fish variety has changed its travel route and is reaching Dhubri in large numbers. Moreover, the depth of the Brahmaputra has decreased and fishermen now-a-days use new types of nets and advanced techniques to catch fish,” said Roy.