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A blessing in disguise for fishermen

Staff Reporter
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Fall in catch in southern portion of Chilika Lake provides market for sea produce in Balugaon

Fishermen and fishing boats at the jetty at Balugaon on the banks of the Chilika Lake in Khurda district.— Photo: Lingaraj Panda
Fishermen and fishing boats at the jetty at Balugaon on the banks of the Chilika Lake in Khurda district.— Photo: Lingaraj Panda

Fall in fish catch in the southern portion of Chilika Lake has become a boon for fishermen from villages on the Rushikulya rookery coast in Ganjam district.

For a good price, women from the fishermen community of Ganjam coast are now carrying the catch of their men folk from sea to Balugaon in Puri district. Balugaon is a major fish, prawn, and crab trading centre.

Leader of Ganjam District Fish Workers' Union (GDFWU) Chandragiri Babaji said they did not have good trading point for their catch in Ganjam district. So, the price for their catch if sold near their villages was quite low.

But the same catch, if taken to Balugaon, would fetch a price that 40 per cent high than what they would have got near their village, he said. While the men spend time in the sea to fish, the women travel from fishermen villages such as Podampeta and Gokharkuka to Balugaon every morning and evening to sell the catch.

Mangaraj Panda, a social activist working with fishermen community on the Orissa coast, said that fall in catch in the southern portion of Chilika Lake had created scope for the fisherwomen to market their produce at Balugaon. “Since long, Balugaon continues to be a major trading point for fish, prawn, and crab of Chilika Lake. The catch from the southern part of the lake used to flood Balugaon market, which has declined in the recent times. In other parts of the lake, the catch has increased,” said Mr. Panda. This decline has provided a readymade market for the fisherwomen of the Ganjam coast.

As Chilika is a brackish lagoon, there is not much difference in the fish catch from the sea and the lagoon. So, there are chances that the fish that is marketed as catch of Chilika Lake at Balugaon may in fact be the catch of the Ganjam coast.

During their return journey from Balugaon, the fisherwomen are also bringing real fish, prawn, and crab of Chilika Lake to market it in Ganjam district.

Real catch of Chilika lake has a traditional market in Ganjam district. So, from it also they get some profit. Fish, prawn or crab of Chilika Lake brought from Balugaon during night is sold by their men folk next morning.


  • Balugaon is a major fish, prawn, and crab trading centre

  • There is little difference in fish caught at sea and the brackish lagoon



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