Formalin scare: Fish prices soar in Goa, rough weather affects fishing in state; local supply low

The markets in Margao, Panaji, Mapusa and Vasco areas have been witnessing a lull as the import of fish has completely stopped following the ban imposed by the state government on it till this month-end. Currently, there is also a ban till 31 July

Press Trust of India July 25, 2018 11:34:19 IST
Formalin scare: Fish prices soar in Goa, rough weather affects fishing in state; local supply low

Panaji: The ban on fish import imposed because of the toxic formalin scare and the deficit local supply has led to soaring of prices of the staple food item in Goa.

The markets in Margao, Panaji, Mapusa and Vasco areas have been witnessing a lull as the import of fish has completely stopped following the ban imposed by the state government on it till this month-end. Currently, there is also a ban till 31 July on fishing using mechanised trawlers off the Goa coast due to the
monsoon.

Formalin scare Fish prices soar in Goa rough weather affects fishing in state local supply low

Representational image. Reuters

Only fishermen using traditional methods of fishing are allowed to venture into the sea but the rough weather has affected their task too. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) had on 21 July warned fishermen against venturing into the sea in view of the rough weather conditions.

"We have not been able to go into the sea for the last several days due to the windy weather. It is highly risky to go with a small boat in the waters," Camilo Fernandes, a traditional fisherman from Velsao in South Goa district, said. The 62-year-old fisherman says that this is the time when they can make little money but they are losing on it because of the weather conditions.

Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who imposed the ban on the import, admitted that fish has become costly. "If the ban on import is continued, fish will become more expensive as the local supply is not enough for the population's requirement," Parrikar said in the state Assembly on Monday.

He read out a list of the various fish sold in the state and their current market prices, which are nearly four times more than normal rates. "Fish is not available in the market. If at all there is some locally caught fish, you will see long queues of consumers," said NCP legislator Churchill Alemao, whose family owns several trawlers at Cutbona jetty in South Goa district.

Alemao said the current fish prices were unaffordable for people. Congress MLA Antonio Fernandes, representing the St Cruz constituency in North Goa district, said he had to himself go angling last Sunday as there was no fish available in the market. "I like fishing. It is my hobby during monsoon. So, when I found that there was no fish available in the market, I went for angling myself and fetched the catch required for the family on Sunday," Fernandes said.

The local restaurants and hotels are the worst affected. "The fish, which used to be available for Rs 100, now costs Rs 600. But we can't pass on the same price to customers. So we have decided to do away with fish items". Vinayak Tale, who owns a restaurant near Boca-de-Vaca locality in Panaji, said. He said customers have also stopped asking for fish items due to the formalin scare.

A toxic chemical, formalin is used to preserve bodies and prevent its decay in mortuaries. The government had last week banned the import of fish from outside Goa till the end of this month to ensure formalin-laced fish do not land in the state. The move came after the Goa Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confirmed the presence of the organic compound in fish imported from other states.

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