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Fish sales hit new high as mutton vanishes from Kashmir markets

KM/Umar Ganie

Srinagar:  Forget mutton, fish is becoming a staple diet for Kashmiris.

Fish sales have hit a new high after bird flu hit the valley and mutton vanished from the market.

 

Earlier this month, the valley reported bird flu in Kulgam, Anantnag, Budgam, Pulwama, and Baramulla districts. Since then chicken sales have dropped as people preferred mutton. With meat vanishing from the market, people are trying fish recipes as an alternative. 

Aijaz Ahmad Kaloo, one of the largest fish suppliers in Srinagar said the sale of fish has gone up by over 50 percent in the last one month.

“We would earlier sell some 2000 kilograms per shop per day. It has now surged to 4000 kilograms a day.  In view of the bird flu, the demand for fish, both local and exotic, has gone up,” said Kaloo, who owns Kaloo Fish Shop chain.

Kaloo said the supplies of fish to the hotels and restaurants have also increased. “We supply fish to various districts of the valley. Golden and molly varieties are in huge demand,” he said.

Shahnawaz Ahmad Koul, owner of the Bismillah Fish Company said that around 12 to 14 tonnes of fish are being imported on an average daily.

“The demand has been on the higher side for the last two weeks. A total of 12-14 tonnes of fish are being imported each day from places including Basoli, Pathankot, and others,” he said.

Koul said each kilogram of fish was sold at Rs 250 in Srinagar. “We have kept the rates reasonable. Recently Director Food, Civil Supplies, and Consumer Affairs held a meeting with us to check the supplies and rate for the fish,” he said.

While fish dealers are making hay, poultry dealers are licking their wounds.

Poultry farmers said people are mostly avoiding consuming chicken despite the fact that the experts have declared it safe for human consumption if cooked at above 75 degrees Celsius.