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Posted at: Jan 28, 2016, 2:15 AM; last updated: Jan 28, 2016, 1:20 AM (IST)

Banned Magur fish devouring breeders’ biz

Banned Magur fish devouring breeders’ biz
Magur fish caught from a pond in Raungla village.

Aman Sood

Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 27

A worried local landlord Jashanjit Singh has summoned his labour to empty the fish pond on his 10 acre farmhouse. Reason: A voracious carnivorous of hybrid variety of Thai catfish, locally called Magur, entered his pond and was fast eating his fish produce. 

Not far away, many other fish farmers in the nearby villages have the same complaint as some unidentified local fish traders have taken a pond on lease and are rearing Magur.

The Magur variety has been banned by the Central Government because of its negative impact on the indigenous varieties of fish and the fact that it was not good for human health. 

The variety is a notorious glutton that devours fish of every kind in water bodies and is usually fed with the waste intestines of chickens so that it grows fast. 

While a Thai Magur weighs a kg in less than six months, a local variety gains only 300 gm during the period.

“Many contractors are still cultivating this fish illegally in village ponds to make quick bucks as it grows fast and does not require too much food input,” said Kulwant Singh, a local farmer. “One fish was enough to destroy my entire fish produce last season. I suffered a loss in thousands,” he stated.

Raungla farmer Jashanjit Singh said he had to empty his entire pond after his farmhands saw two Magur fish there. “We brought them out today. However, in the past over a week, they killed more than they could have eaten,” he stated. “As the fish grows fast, greedy traders sell it in the open market and reaping good profit,” he said. 

In the recent past, the health wing of the Municipal Corporation had been conducting raids in the market to recover and destroy this fish, which is not considered healthy as it can breed in dirtiest of stagnant waters. “While a local fish is available for anywhere between Rs 300 and Rs 400 per kg, Magur is available for much lesser price, under Rs 100 a kg,” said an official. 

However, some farmers and fishermen have been illegally breeding the banned fish in Patiala villages. 

“I had warned our pond contractor almost a fortnight ago and he promised to take out all Magurs from the village pond, but he has failed to keep his promise,” stated Jasbir Garcha, who has fish farms in Jargarhi and Raungla villages.

Senior Administration officials confirmed that this variety was banned in Punjab as it fed on other fish and was a disease carrier. “It can stay out of water for some time and once it breeds in a pond, it can travel some distance in damp conditions during rainy season,” a senior official said.

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