Kolkata: The State Fisheries Department has decided to serve a new type of fish on the plates of Bengalis. The hatchlings are being procured from Visakhapatnam. They would be reared at the government hatchery in Fraserganj.
The reason for focusing on grouper is that it tastes just like an eternal favourite of Bengalis – bhetki. The government’s aim is to satisfy part of the high demand for bhetki with grouper. This would prevent unscrupulous traders from hiking up the price of bhetki to unreasonable levels – something they are wont to during winter, when the demand is high.
To initiate the project, a few lakh hatchlings would be bought by the Bengal Government this March. The Trinamool Congress Government has been putting a lot of stress in the farming of fish as well as on its exporting. Then, a lot of restaurants and ready-to-eat outlets are opening up in Kolkata and its outskirts as well as across the state, many by the State Government too, creating a huge demand for bhetki, among other types of fishes. Hence, the potential for grouper is quite high.
The whole project is being overseen by the State Fisheries Development Corporation (SFDC). According to officials of SFDC, the tastes of both the fishes are similar and hence the grouper’s price too would be at the same level as the bhetki’s. SFDC officials expect grouper to capture the hearts and minds of Bengalis soon.