December 16, 2011
The biggest wholesale fish market in Pakistan is floundering due to non availability of advanced cold storage facility and a proper drainage system.
The president of the Wholesale Fish Market Association, Lala Abdul Rasool, said that the number of visitors has begun to dwindle and will continue to do so unless the government intervenes.
Lala Abdul Rasool claimed that Sukkur's fish market is the biggest in Pakistan because it caters to the needs of the entire country. He said that the fishes are brought to the market from various places, which include Shikarpur, Kashmore, Kandhkot, Larkana and some parts of Balochistan. Sukkur is connected to all of the three provinces and so the shipment of fish to other parts of the country does not take more than three days.
However, Rasool complained about the lack of facilities in the market. He said that there is very little space and that the government should allot the fish dealers some land on the outskirts of the city. He also said that the drainage system is terrible. A quick trip around the market's bloody streets will reveal the poor sanitation facilities. Rasool also lamented the fact that there are no banks in close proximity to the market. The dealers have to go to distant bank branches to deposit their earnings, which is quite risky.
Rasool said that activity in fish market begins at around 1:00pm and continues till late in the night. According to him, after sorting out different species, the process of auction starts. Fish dealers from all over Pakistan used to come to this market", he said. "As there is no cold storage facility in the market, we have to rely on traditional methods of packing fish in boxes filled with ice", he said. Replying to a question Rasool said that the catch could remain fresh for up to seven days in the ice coolers, but this duration is halved in summer. "If the government provides us with a cold storage facility, we can earn considerable foreign exchange for the national exchequer," he said. When asked about Sindh's most popular fish "Palla", Rasool heaved a sigh and said that gone are the days when this particular species, which is also known as the 'king of fish' was freely available in the Sukkur market. He said that some people import Palla from Iran. But the fish is very costly and doesn't match the taste of Palla caught in Sindh.