Dry fish producers left high and dry in Paradip

Production of dry fish has been banned in Paradip since Sept 1 for use of chemicals

Published: 06th September 2016 06:15 AM  |   Last Updated: 06th September 2016 06:15 AM   |  A+A-

PARADIP: With the Fisheries Department banning production of dry fish in Paradip, womenfolk of fishermen community have been left high and dry. The ban came into force  on September 1. Fisher women, who have been producing dry fish for several years, are now left with no other means to eke out living except selling  the fresh catch. Earlier, traders and producers of dry fish, locally known as ‘Sukhua’,  in Jagatsinghpur district had been warned against use of chemicals in drying the fish by the Fisheries Department. Apparently, the department had  found that most of the dry fish in the market is laced with toxic chemicals that can cause killer diseases like  gastric ulcer and gastritis in violation of the Orissa Marine Fishing Regulation  Act, 1982.

Following allegations of use of  chemicals, the Fisheries Department conducted raids on dry fish production and sale units and seized samples for laboratory test. During test, it was found that toxic  substances were indiscriminately used to preserve the fish and prevent its decomposition during the  drying process, particularly in monsoon.

As far as the process is concerned, the fishermen sprinkle salt on the fresh fish and let it soak for a day. They then wash the fish  with water and string them up in lines along the beach to dry. Sources said fishermen and dry fish traders process the fish by dipping  them in buckets of water that have toxic drugs dissolved in it. Paradip is one of the State’s major dry fish production centre after Huma-Sunakhala in Ganjam district. More than 1500 families of  Telugu and Bengali communities have been operating dry fish business in Paradip for generations and around  500 families are indirectly employed in this trade. Around 4,000 tonne of dry fish are produced in the area every year.  The demand of dry fish is very high in Rourkela, Angul, Sambalpur, Bargarh and some parts of Western Odisha.

Assistant Director of Fisheries  (Marine), Kujang, Biraja PrasannaMohapatra said awareness drives  are being conducted among consumers and members of fishermen community against consumption and production of dry  fish. Action will be taken against people violating the Orissa Marine Fishing Regulation Act, 1982, he added. 

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