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With the ban on mechanised fishing coming into effect from June 1, the demand for inland water fish has increased in the state, reports Bhiva P Parab

Inland water fish in demand

With rough seas during the monsoon and also ban on mechanised fishing, it is the time of the year for residents to consume inland water fish. Check reveals that demand for inland water fish is set to increase as marine fish is scarce in the markets these days.

With the monsoon several low lying areas have been filled with water apart from lakes and rivers in the state and these have become fishing areas. Several residents and even people with basic knowledge venture out for fishing in inland waters. Fish is also found in fields inundated with rainwater and people cash in on the same. There several varieties of inland water fish like Khaval, Thigur, Dhemake, Maral, Kharchaney, Kalundar, Kuddo and Shivad which are in demand these days.

The prices of the inland water fish which are sold in the market varies according to the fish size, availability, demand, etc. The variety of marine fish available in the markets are less in the monsoon and also the prices of the fish available are high and so several people go in for the inland water fish.

“The demand for the inland water fish begins at the end of the summer with the beginning of the ban on mechanized fishing, when the availability of marine fish decreases. Generally the fish is sold in ‘vato.’ A vato portion and prices of a ‘vato’ varies from Rs 100 to 500 depending upon the fish varieties and size of the portion. However big fish are sold individually,” said a fish vendor.

The fishing in the inland water is done during daytime as well as during the night time although some people prefer fishing during the nighttime for various reasons.

It may be noted that various types of traditional nets are used for catching the fresh water fish and at nighttime people mostly go in groups for fishing.

When the water is less say knee deep ‘Shene’ a traditional net is used for catching the fish, while another type of net, ‘Yene’ is used when the water is deep to just less than the height of a man and in more deeper waters ‘Katali’ is used and this net is mostly used by fishermen who go in for fishing with canoe, according to the information available from the sources.

“When we go for fishing in the inland water we especially go during the nighttime as the fish come to the surface and nights are selected when there is no moonlight or less moonlight so that the only light is from the lamp we carry along with us,” said a local who goes for fishing and he added, “The fish gets attracted towards the lamp light during the night time as it is the only source of light and it becomes easier to catch them during the nighttime as their movement is restricted by the lamp light and so there is a good catch during the nighttime, while during the daytime the fish move everywhere and it becomes difficult to catch them.”

“When people go for fishing in the dark of the night they generally go in groups and minimum three persons are required in a group, one to catch fish, other to hold lamp and third one to catch the bag containing fish and they spend two to three hours for catching fish and once the fish are caught they distribute among themselves and sometimes if the catch is big they give to friends or relatives,” said a local from Pernem.

He added, “Some even sell the fish and make a commercial business out of the activity.”

“Fish is needed in our food, it may be two to three days a week and during the monsoon season hardly any marine fish is available so we depend upon inland water fish and also sometimes we ourselves go for fishing during the monsoon and get some fish for the day, which saves our money and also we get fresh catch,” said a local.

While another person said that there is quite a good demand for inland fish and there are people who cannot do without fish curry every day and so they buy the fish with high rates. The rates of the inland water fish depends on the market demand and also the size of the fish and it may change from area to area.


Dry fish for monsoon

In the state of Goa traditionally fish drying is done in open sun during the summer. It takes few days for drying of the fish. During the summer season the fish is dried and kept for the monsoon when hardly any fish is available from the sea as there is fishing ban and also due to heavy rains it is dangerous to go into the sea.

It may be noted that earlier  few years ago plenty of fish were available in the state and so whatever fresh fish which used to remain after selling used to be kept for drying. During monsoon residents purchased dry fish as hardly any fresh fish is available in the markets. Especially dry mackerals were in demand. However now there is less demand and also less fish available for drying.

In the various markets of the state the prices of the dry fish varies, however in general some four to five big size dry mackerels are priced at around Rs 100, while around seven to eight medium sized mackerels are priced at Rs 100 and one can get around 10 to 12 small sized mackerels for Rs 100, while the prawns and other small dry fish are sold using the traditional measuring system and a traditional measure called ‘sher’ is generally used to measure small dry fish and a ‘sher’ of prawns is sold at around Rs 150, while the ‘Golmo’ is priced at around Rs 40 a ‘sher’.

The quantity of dry fish available in the state is less and to meet the demand the fish is also brought from places like Karwar and Malwan.  A local vendor from a state market said, “In the state of Goa there is good demand for fresh fish and so hardly fish is available for drying in the state and as there is demand for dry fish in the markets which begins during the summer season due to the less availability of fresh fish and so several local people go for dry fish and they stock dry fish during the monsoon season and so dry fish is brought from places Karwar and Malwan which has big dry fish markets and various variety of dry fish are available in these markets,” said  a vendor.

The vendor also went on to say that there is less fish available for drying in the state of Goa and if we see in Goa today the beaches on which traditionally the fishermen used to dry the fish are crowded with tourists and shacks and so hardly any space is available for drying of the fish on the beach area and the dry fish rate is cheaper in Karwar then in several markets of the state.

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