Punjab Agricultural University's (PAU) department of extension education and zoology has recently completed its two year survey on fish market trends being followed in the state. Five major cities of the state-Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Patiala and Bhatinda- were included in the survey that brought forth several findings on production, procurement and how seriously fish waste is considered and used.
It was the effort of a 22-year-old student, Parteek Bajwa, MSc zoology student, under the guidance of zoology professor Jasjeet Kaur and head of extension education Rajinder Kaur Kalra. Several fish vendors were contacted under this survey.
Talking to HT, Bajwa shared that it was not an easy task collecting all the facts but with the passage of time, the assignment started appearing easy as our contact list widened. Thus it helped us to procure necessary information. Personal interviews were done and 15 major vendors were chosen for that, he said.
“I found that annual fish production in Punjab has increased from 83.65 thousand tonnes in 2003-04 to 104.02 thousand tonnes in 2013-14. Secondly, the procurement and sale of fish was significantly higher in winter season than summer. Thirdly, very few fish vendors understand the value of fish waste which includes fins, liver, kidney, blood, scales, vertebral column (head and gonads being and edible portion), as they simply throw it away despite it has huge demand in the medicine industry and different research purposes,” he stated.
In South India, fish vendors are very much aware about the waste as compared to Punjab and other north Indian states where it is simply thrown as a waste or given to the poor for free who make meals out of it. Besides, it is used by the medicine industry and can also be used in preparing animal feeds for generating bio-fuels, bio-gas plants, preparing deictic products and cosmetics, he added.
Kalra and Kaur revealed that Rohu, Saul, Singhara, Catla, and Golden are high waste generating fish species of the state, of which Saul and Rohu have highest sale in Punjab. But fish procurement in the selected five cities is not from Punjab ponds and rivers but also from Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat, West Bengal and other states.
They said procurement from various regions also indicates different preferences of the customers which encourages to go to different regions for procuring fish to meet diversified needs of the customers in the state. However, of all regions, Punjab and Haryana stand on the top, they unfolded.
The survey also shows that the head of the fish, which is edible, is generlaly declared a waste. None of the vendors know that the fish head has higher nutritional value.
For fish waste, experts suggest that it must be efficiently used for various productive purposes. It is need of the hour for industrialists, who make use of fish, should get in touch with fish vendors.
Fifteen vendors were included in the survey and it was found that apart from procuring fish from Punjab, they also had the procurement done from other states including Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat, West Bengal, UP, MP, Bihar and Maharashtra.