Kolkata: Although the monsoon has hit the State, it still hasn’t brought in its usual and most sought-after companion, Hilsa fish. As the clamor for the fish grows across the State, now traders took fraud way and forced to sell foreign fish as the name of Hilsa. Hilsa fish lay their eggs in sweet waters of estuaries by swimming away from saline water. The fish should have come up by now, but we still have hope as the monsoon entered the State.
In the past, the families of grooms presented hilsa, wrapped in a red sari and adorned with jewellery, to the bride’s family. During Jamai Shoshti, a holiday named for a Bengali benefactress of male children celebrated in May or June, mothers-in-law will buy hilsa at exorbitant prices and playfully bully their sons-in-law into feasting. But in present days, Hilsa are rare. Sometimes we buy Hilsa at lowest price from market and for this reason bengali plate flooded with many items of Hilsa during the season. But it doesn’t taste anything like the hilsa you have known. After all, they are not from the waters of Digha or Kakdwip but from the Uruguay.
Local hilsa weighing over 1 kg sell for as much as Rs 1,000 (Rs 1,200 on some days), burning a hole in your pocket. Not wanting to burn their fingers, most households kept the hilsa off their platter, in grief, of course. Over the last few years, many were pleasantly surprised to see fresh stocks of what looked like hilsa. Tentative queries revealed an even bigger surprise. It was selling for Rs 400 a kilo.
According to sources, After the month of September, the amount of hilsa gradually decreases. During this time, a kind of fish coming from South America, Uruguay takes the market of Howrah and Kolkata. Although the wholesale vendors sell it as imported fish but local retailers in many cases sell it as Khoka Hilsa. This fake Hilsa row continued since four years. Those who know the actual fish, they will buy the actual Hilsa. Most of them bought this fish as Hilsa, said Howrah wholesale fish market sources.
The name of this fish imported from Uruguay is actually shad fish. Small in shape and very similar to the hilsa. That’s why some traders in the retail market sell this fish as taking the name of Hilsa. Howrah Wholesale Fish Market secretary Syed Anwar Maksud said, “This fish is actually the fish of South America. We call it Chokori fish. ” he also added that, “This fish is imported from the Middle Eastern Arabia, Oman. Some fish came from Vietnam now. We sell generally as foreign sea fish. It is difficult to say how it is selling outside. But many traders know about the fact.
Shad fish started coming to the market from the end of August. Its price started from 120 per Kilo to 250 per kilo. Wholesale fish trader Syed Maksud said, “Hilsa fish will cost at least 200 to 250 per kg. This year Khoka Hilsa has been caught less. So it can not be sold at a very low price. If anyone sells hilsa 150 per kilo then it will surely be shad fish.
Naturally the taste of the fish is not particularly good. Recently, the news of the Khoyra fish sell came out as the mane of Hilsa. Now Shad fish is included in the list.
Reported By-Souptik Banerjee
Edited By- Piku Mukherjee