Paradip, August 21 (LocalWire): The migratory king of fishes is dwindling putting in danger the livelihood of the fishermen who make the most of the prized monsoon catch.
Hilsa catch in the state dipped by 70 percent in the last decade, causing acute shortage to the fish in the market leading to an exorbitant price rise and deterring people from buying the coveted breed.
1644. 79 metric tonnes of Hilsa was caught in 2018-19 while ten years back, the catch was 15,000 metric tonnes per annum.
During the rainy season, Paradip and its nearby fish markets used to be flooded with baskets full of silvery Hilsas, but now it’s a rare sight.
Even if Hilsas are found, most of them are very small in size putting at risk the livelihood of thousands of fishermen of Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapada districts.
The production of Hilsa in Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapada districts were 625.06 metric tonnes in 2014- 2015 while in 2015-2016 it was 609.60 MT, 653.73 MT in 2016-2017, 1476.43 MT in 2017-2018 and 1644.79 MT in 2018-2019.
The above figures show that there is a rise in Hilsa catch every year from 2014-2015 to 2018-2019.
But this year the Hilsa catch has drastically dipped by 13 percent causing acute shortage of the fish in the area.
Paradip, Jagatasinghpur and Kendrapada and its nearby fish markets which are renowned for Hilsa produce, the fish has become a rare sight.
The fishermen venture to the sea to catch Hilsa as it is the right time for a catch but mostly return empty-handed or with a measly catch resulting in skyrocketing prices.
Local fishermen are selling small Hilsa at Rs 800 to 1000 and big Hilsa at Rs 1000 to 1500 per kg that can only be afforded by the affluent.
Generally, during low pressures, fishermen catch abundant hilsa at the confluence of Mahanadi and the Bay of Bengal.
But this year during monsoon, the rains are playing hide and seek and low pressure has not occurred enough and the Hilsa catch has reduced, said fisherman Sukant Behera.
Environmentalists said, ‘pollution is the major cause for the decline of Hilsa fishes from Paradip.
Release of effluent from different industries to water bodies has caused the depletion of marine fishes including Hilsa.’
Assistant Director, fisheries (marine), Manas Ranjan Sahoo, said, ‘suitable climate is the main cause for the rise of Hilsa in Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapada districts so we expect the catch to improve in the future.’