Fish prices rise after ban on import

A deserted wholesale fish market at Betkuchi. Picture by Manash Das

Guwahati: The prices of local varieties of fish have increased in markets here with the Assam government imposing restrictions on the import of fish from outside the state.

The state government on Tuesday banned the import of fish from outside the state for 10 days from Wednesday, following the detection of formalin in fish imported from Andhra Pradesh.

"With the restrictions on imported fish, the wholesale market price of local varieties of fish have also increased. Rohu, which sold at Rs 150 per kg on Tuesday became Rs 180 to Rs 200 on Wednesday. Prawn, which was Rs 1,000 per kg a day ago now costs Rs 1,400. Grass carp, one of the highest-selling fish in the market, became Rs 250 per kg with an increase of Rs 50," Sohrab Uddin, a retail fish seller of Bamunimaidan market, one of the largest retail markets here, told The Telegraph.

Swapan Das, a retailer at Ganeshguri fish market, said the rate of local fish has increased from Rs 100 to Rs 200 per kg within a day.

"Due to restriction on imported fish, this morning drastic price hike took place in the wholesale market. May be it will continue in the coming days. We have also faced shortage of supply in wholesale markets this morning. Hope the situation will become normal by Thursday. In our market, imported fish sellers did not run their business today for lack of stock," Das said.

In the Uzan Bazar market, one of the leading wholesale fish markets here, fishmonger Ramen Das spoke of the crisis in supply from this morning.

Moreover, officials of the food safety department on Wednesday carried out inspections across the state against the sale of imported fish. Sources said in some places, they also destroyed stocks of imported fish.

Officials of the Guwahati Municipal Corporation said they would also start a drive in city markets from Thursday so that price hike of local fish and sale of imported fish could be controlled.

On the consumption rate of fish in the state, an official of the state fishery department, Ramen Barman, said: "We have a 3.43 lakh metric tonnes of fish consumption per year against annual production of 3.07 lakh metric tonnes. Now it is a challenge for the local fish producers to meet the demand."

A statement, issued by Dispur on the restriction of imported fish, on Wednesday said, "Failure to comply with the provisions of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 and the Notification would attract penalties as provided in Section 34(4) and Section 59 of the Act, which may extend to punishment with imprisonment up to seven years."


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