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Pradeep Pattanayak

Unlike past, this season, fishermen are netting huge amounts of monsoon delicacy, Hilsa, locally called ‘Ilisi’ at Dhamra in Bhadrak district. Yet the price of this most sought after fish variety is skyrocketing. 

According to fishermen, for last three to four days, they have been catching tons of Hilsa. While they called it as a rare experience what has brought a lot cheer to their faces is the catch comprises of only bigger size of Hilsa. 

Since the demand for bigger size Hilsa is always up there in the market, the price of this non vegetarian favorite has skyrocketed, despite the fact that the market is flooded with it and the holy month of Shravan has already set in when many abstain from non-vegetarian food items.
 

“We are catching Hilsa fish, weighing between 800 gram and 1.5kg. Presently, a Hilsa below 1 kilogram weight is fetching Rs 1200.  Whereas, Hilsa weighing above 1 kilogram is selling at something above Rs 1900,” claimed Narayan Jena, a boat owner. 

Similarly, Hilsa weighing 500 to 600 grams is being sold at Rs 600, the fishermen said. 

It is a common occurrence that with the onset of monsoon, gourmands’ desire for Hilsa grows. 

However, in the fish markets, a common man is more often than not seen returning without buying it. They attribute this to its exorbitant price which is out of their budget. 

While fishermen believe the price of this much-loved fish may come down in the coming days if the favourable weather condition for Hilsa catch continues for some days. 

According to some fishermen, Hilsa fish generally swim upstream to freshwater from the sea due to ‘Pubei’ wind and get caught in nets.

“We have never witnessed this earlier. It’s once in a lifetime like phenomenon. The huge catch during these four to five days is due to circulation of ‘Pubei’ wind. Our catch is even touching one or two tons,” said Harihara Guru, a fisherman. 

Whenever there is such occurrence of huge netting of Hilsa, the local traders have a field day as they earn quick bucks sending them to places including Kolkata, Kharagpur and Mechhada where the fish is in huge demand.
 

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