Monday, April 6

Unseasonal hilsa floods Kolkata markets, buyers happy with affordable delicacy

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Winter is still here and monsoon is far away. Yet the city markets have been flooded with hilsa. And the quality is better than the ones found during the peak season. At present, the hilsa found in the city markets are big-sized ones weighing anything between 1kg and 2.1kg, and they are affordable.
However, when supplies first started pouring in, about a fortnight ago, the prices were quite high. At retailers’ stands in Gariahat and Lake Market some 15 days ago, hilsas weighed 900g to 1.5kg each and sold for Rs 1,500 a kg — something buyers are used to during the monsoon. However, things changed for the better as more supplies came in, the size grew and prices witnessed a downward spiral.

A fish trader at Gariahat Market, Amar Das, said, “Even during hilsa season, we do not get to sell such fresh hilsa from the Padma. The size of the fish reaching our markets now is nothing short of eye-catching. Buyers are very happy and we are witnessing repeat purchases by regulars. Though there are some supplies coming in from cold storages, we aren’t really picking up those since there is a large amount of fresh supply is already at our disposal.”

Hilsa wholesale trader Suleman Khan, however, said, “The hilsa supply from Bangladesh is coming in via a roundabout route. Such supply may stop at any moment. However, if it continues, the volume will increase and prices will come down further.”

Fishermen’s Association secretary Bijon Maity said, “Now, Bangladeshi fishermen are being able to catch huge quantities of hilsa and are supplying a large quantity of their catch to our side. Thus, supply to city markets is bountiful. However, our fishermen are hardly catching any hilsa — some 60% of trawlers are returning without any hilsa from Kakdwip and Diamond Harbour.”

Joyeeta Mukherjee, a hilsa buyer at Gariahat Market, said, “We did not get good hilsa the last season. Even during Bhai Phonta last year, there was hardly any hilsa in the markets. But the fish now available in the markets is so fresh and tasty that one can’t help but buy in large quantities.”

 

Source: Times of India

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