Illegal hatchling trade endangering Khainga fish of Astaranga

Konark: Known for its unique taste, Khainga Fish (Mugil Cephalus) found in Astaranga area of Puri district is staring at extinction amid rampant illegal trading of hatchlings.

According to sources, huge amounts of seeds found at the Debi River confluence are being illegally fished and then sold off in West Bengal.

The mafia involved in the illegal trading of hatchlings, first trap the seeds from the confluence and store them in river water separately to breed them further for sale outside the state, informed sources. After some days, the Khainga Fish hatchlings are separated while the other hatchlings are disposed of. The Khainga hatchlings are then sold off to traders in West Bengal. Moreover, the mafia operating in the area has been engaging labourers from Bangladesh for all the work, said sources.

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“Such hatchlings are generally supplied to West Bengal, where the hatchlings are farmed and sold back to Odisha at higher rates,” said a local resident Sovakar Behera.

Such practice is not only endangering the species from the confluence but also resulting in unnecessary destruction of hatchlings of other species of fishes.

“I came to know about the practice just now after hearing this report. I will inform the Marine Fishery department and ask them to take necessary action in this regard,” said Puri ADM, Bibhuti Bhusan Das.