SACHI NAIK | NT BUZZ
Despite the ban on fishing from June 1, the fishing community are still seen selling fish. NT BUZZ visited the wholesale fish market of Seraulim to understand the scene and trends of the most sought after staple food item in Goa. The fish that was being sold were from Goan waters as well as from neighbouring states like Karnataka. This market is popular as the fish is sold at a wholesale rate; much cheaper than the markets we visit to buy fish for regular consumption.
In the early morning at around 3 a.m., every day except in the rainy season, trucks full of a variety of fish travel from the surrounding states of Goa like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, and locations such as Karwar to the Seraulim market.
Several people here are seen selling fish, even those who aren’t from the fishing community. They are aware of the prospects of being in such a business. There’s a lot of hard work that can be seen here. People gather here early in the morning and buy cartons at wholesale rate. This is then sold at a retail price to the customers in fish markets across the Goa. Some fishermen and fisherwomen go door-to-door to sell fish. It was even seen that fish sellers from North Goa travel to this market in the wee hours to get a good deal and the best fish.
A fisherwoman from Margao who sold shell fish (tisryo) at the wholesale market revealed that it is usually when there is a shortage of fish in Goa that fish from other states are sold. However, there are times when fish from Goa is sold to neighbouring states. “Buying and selling gives a wider scope for earning more. Maybe that is the reason it is done,” she said.
Another fisherman who sold Kingfish explained that there are two sections in Seraulim market, one that sells fish from Goa and the other that sells fish from other states. “Fish from Goa is fresh whereas fish from outside has travelled miles and has to be stored in ice for quite a long time. It loses its taste and doesn’t remain fresh as it is stored in ice.”
NT BUZZ upon visiting the market unfortunately couldn’t easily identify the fish from Goa and that which comes from outside. It was noted that this is a good retail business for many. One seller informed us that he bought a carton of prawns and would keep some for himself and sell the rest in the Seraulim market at a cheaper rate.
A customer from Curtorim who bought mackerels said: “I buy in bulk and then share it within the family. This helps us save money. There are times when the fish is very tasty while sometimes it is the opposite.” However, most of the customers prefer buying at a retail price so they do not have to worry about storage of fish being bought in bulk; especially when there have been power outages in Goa these days.
Goa beats every other state in terms of the taste of fish. It is questionable as to why Goa, a state known for its delicious fish has to rely on other states for supply of fish from its neighbouring states. The government has initiated several subsidies and schemes for fish sellers, and those in the business, but it is also known that Goa exports fish to several countries and sells fish to other states. Many-a-times it has been seen that hotels get good deals when it comes to purchase and choice of fish due to the demand. Goans have to make do with whatever little choice they have in the market, that too at exorbitant rates, making our much loved staple an expensive affair.