Andhra Pradesh

Pulasa fishermen wait for Pushkaram to end

A file photo of pulasa fish being sold at Dowleswaram canal road near Rajahmundry.  

ishermen along three tributaries of the Godavari at Narasapuram are eagerly waiting for the Pushkarams to end so that they can resume their fishing operations and haul in supplies of Pulasa, a delicious fish that fetches them anywhere from Rs. 3,500 to Rs. 4,000 per kg depending on demand. Scientifically named Tenualosa ilisha, the fish swims upriver from the sea during the monsoon every year to lay eggs. The female fish, which can weigh 2 kg to 2.5 kg at peak season, has huge demand in the Godavari region. Narasapuram is one of the few places where the fish is available in good quantities.

There is a ban on all fishing in the Godavari due to the ongoing Pushkarams.

The months of Ashadham and Sravanam (July and August) are when the Pulasa begin to lay eggs in the river. Once the egging season is over, the fish swim back to sea, to return next year. Vasishta, Gowthami and Vainateya are the three tributaries of the Godavari where Pulasa fishermen are busiest at this time of the year, says Sangadi Venkateswara Rao, a fisherman from Padavalarevu.

“After Dowleswaram and Siddhantam, Narasapuram is the third largest market for Pulasa. People make payments in advance to get the fish.

Most of them insist on the female fish, as it has a unique taste during the ovulation period,” says Kamadi Peddi Raju of Rajullanka. ‘Pulasa chepa pulusu is a mouth-watering dish prepared by women folk in this region. It is in huge demand in fancy hotels during the season.

The Godavari region is the third largest breeding area for this estuarine fish after the Padma in Bangladesh and the Hooghly in West Bengal, where it is fabled as the hilsa.

The catch, however, differs from year to year.

“Tenualosa ilisha catches follow a five-year cycle, peaking in once in five years,” says T. Rajyalakshmi, a senior fisheries scientist and former Director of the Central Institute for Brackish Water Aquaculture.

“The proposed Polavaram irrigation project is going to be a major threat to this variety, as the fish has to stop its journey at the dam,” she says.

The problem is prevalent at the Dowleswaram barrage too, where a ‘fish pass’ was built exclusively for it.

Vasishta, Gowthami and Vainateya where Pulasa fishermen are busiest at this time of the year, says Sangadi Venkateswara Rao, fisherman from Padavalarevu

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Printable version | Apr 19, 2021 12:30:37 PM |

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