VISAKHAPATNAM: With the fishing ban being in force, and the fact that chicken and mutton are not consumed much during summer, inexpensive fish varieties closer to the shore and generally do not enjoy much popularity are now in demand. According to sources, the demand for fish has risen by much, prompting sellers to increase the prices accordingly.
Normally fish varieties such as Gulivindalu and Tanagatlu which are closer to the shore and reached by country boats are very cheap. But a majority of the non-vegetarians do not prefer them as they are considered to be unhealthy and of low quality as they grow in polluted water close to the shore, unlike fish in the deep sea, which are farther away and grow in much fresher waters. However, in the absence of deep-water varieties, the cost of the common varieties and tank fish have shot up three-fold in the market.
The most popular varieties of sea fish like Chanduva, Vanjaram and Konam and prawn varieties like tiger etc., are currently not available and will hit the markets only after the fishing ban ends.
For the first time, this year, the State Government has fixed the ban period till June 15, and fishing activity will resume around the time the southwest monsoon is expected to set in.
Since country boats are exempted from the ban, they venture about 5 km into the sea to catch common varieties. But with waters close to the shore, upto 10-15 kms being polluted, the fish are considered unhealthy.
However, now, these varieties of fish are also much in demand. With the fall in preference for poultry, a majority of the hotels and popular restaurants in the city are purchasing tank fish, also known as sweet water fish, from neighbouring districts, effectively increasing the prices. “During the summer, non-veg lovers mostly prefer fish items. Due to the several reasons including high pollution in the Bay of Bengal, there are no catchments of healthy fish. As a result, whatever fish are being caught have a huge demand,” said Pothi Simhachalam, a 45-old traditional fishermen of Jalaripeta. He added that the prices of Tanagatlu and Gulivindalu and Pora doubled. While they are usually available for `100, they now cost `250 and above, based on the quality.
A marketing manager of star hotel said that they are procuring sweet water fish from East Godavri every alternative day. During the past one two weeks, the prices of the fresh water fish also doubled due to demand. As a result, non-vegetarian and multi-cuisine restaurants in the city are learnt to be paying advance amounts to aqua farmers in East and West Godavari districts for the fish, he added.
“This is very much an expected thing. When there is demand, the price obviously goes up. As there is no sea fish in the market, there is a big demand for any fish basically.
In fact, we are not increasing the prices according to the demand, we’re only trying to meet expenditures such as transport and general cost of fish rearing. Meanwhile, the fuel cost also increased in recent times. All these factors naturally weigh in when we fix the sale price,” said Dandu Narasimha Raju, an aquiculture businessman from East Godavari district.