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Wholesale fish agents, fishermen allege harassment

Story: the | goan | 13th July 2018, 07:00 Hrs


Goa’s lone wholesale fish market at Margao was shut down on Thursday following the early morning FDA raids on fish imported from outside the State, as fish merchants and agents stopped the sale of fish after the FDA told them not to dispose of the fish till further orders.  

Around 11 am, activity in the SGPDA retail fish market came to a halt as most of the fish vendors expressed their solidarity with the wholesale fish agents hit by the FDA raids earlier in the morning.  

Agitated wholesale fish agents and other fishermen later descended at the residence of TCP Minister Vijai Sardesai, seeking his intervention to stop the harassment meted out to them by the FDA officials.  

“We have decided to shut down our operations in the wholesale fish market since the FDA has told us not to dispose of the fish in the 17 trucks. The fish stacked in the vehicles is valued around Rs 1 crore and the order not to dispose of the fish means a loss for the fishermen. Why should we suffer a loss when the spot test is not indicative of the presence of formalin. We have requested the FDA to find out traces of formalin inside the fish. They should also answer how come the test was positive in the case of Tistreo and Burantee which had come to the market from Cortalim,” M Ibrahim, president of the wholesale fish market.  

He said similar tests were conducted at Chennai, besides Malpe and Mangalore in Karnataka in the laboratory, but the reports had come negative.  

Asserting that FDA has not done the right thing, Ibrahim condemned the spot test, saying the FDA ought to have conducted a proper lab test to ascertain the presence of formalin.  

By 10 am, fish vendors from the Mapusa market led by president Shashikala Govekar joined the wholesale fishermen at Margao. “We have shut down the Mapusa fish market. Just because outside fish is coming into Goa, there is availability of fish in the State,” she said.   

The wholesalers as well as the fish vendors later descended at the SGPDA retail fish market with a plea to the vendors to join them by closing the market. While president of the Fish Vendors Association, Felix Gonsalves informed that the fish vendors have decided to stop the operations for a day to express their solidarity with the wholesalers, there were some fish vendors, who pointblank told the wholesalers not to force them to shut the market. “We have all decided to support the fish wholesalers. Markets at Mapusa and other places have also remained closed,” Felix said, while saying the market will remain open on Friday.   

A fish vendor Fatima said the FDA should prove that there is chemical in the fish, asserting that they have never sold fish with chemicals.  

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