Pulasa delicacy set to go off menus

Species dwindling in Godavari River

East Godavari: Fish lovers in East Godavari and its neighbouring districts will miss the aroma of the Pulasa curry (a fish delicacy) this year. The species of fish found in the Godavari River has dwindled.

This variety of fish is high in demand and is known for its taste. It can be found in the waters of Kotipalli, Dowleswaram barrage, Yanam, Ravulapalem and few other areas in the East Godavari district between August and October.

The Hilsa fish lives in the Indian and Pacific oceans, but it breeds in sweet water. It is found in large numbers in the Bay of Bengal but travels to the Godavari River in Andhra Pradesh. The fish is an expensive and highly nutritious fish and travels upstream to spawn in freshwater.

V. Ganesh a fisherman from Godavari district said, “The fish have been disappearing from the Godavari River. This season we netted a very low catch. The fish is in danger and also our livelihood.”

The fishermen around Vasishta, Gowthami, and Vainateya, the three tributaries of the Godavari River depend on the Pulasa for their livelihood.

With a poor catch this season, the price of the fish touched Rs 5,000 a kg at Yanam and Rs 7,000 a kg near Rajahmundry. Though the Hilsa is also found in Odisha and West Bengal, the Godavari Pulasa is said to be tastiest with people ready to pay a fortune for the fish.

M. Lakshman, a fisherman said, “Our income this year has decreased by 80 per cent.”
Traders have enchased on non-availability of the fish and are cheating customers by selling the Odisha Hilsa at a high price by passing it off as the Godavari Pulasa.

A fisherman can earn between Rs 75,000 to Rs 1.2 lakh per season depending on the catch, as the Pulasa is the costliest among the other variety of fishes. But, over the past two seasons, fishermen have earned only Rs 20,000 a season due to the non-sighting of the fish.

This year, hoteliers in East Godavari district did not serve the Pulasa Cheppa Pulusu. If the situation continues, the Pulasa fish will be forgotten in the coming years.

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