Two things in Goa are considered to be the best – Fish and Fenny (Liquor). Tourists from all over the world come to Goa to consume its fresh fish and pure liquor but with time the situation has completely turned around. Now the people of Goa wait for the fish from the neighboring states as the fish from the state gets consumed in exports. The politicians are playing the game with the import of fish into the state but no one speaks about restricting the export of fish from Goa. 

The issue of formalin came into the picture due to the imports of fish from the other states as the fish vendors started using formalin to keep the fish fresh for a longer time for various reasons. But what about the fish produced in Goa?

Following the state government’s order for banning fish import for six months, the deputy speaker came to the rescue of people saying that there should not be a blanket ban on import of fish in the state.

As per the reports published by NDTV the deputy speaker Mr. Michael Lobo said that the fish supplies from the neighboring Shiroda, Malvan and Sawantwadi areas of Maharashtra and Karwar in Karnataka should be allowed in local markets.   

“There can be stringent checks at the border on fish stocks being brought into the state, but that doesn’t mean we have a blanket ban on fish import,” Mr. Lobo told reporters in the state capital.

“Fish prices in the markets have sky-rocketed, severely affecting the businesses of restaurants and hotels,” said Mr. Lobo, protecting the interest of the shacks and hotel owners in the Calangute area.      

Fish coming from neighboring state has been banned

He said the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) can set up mobile laboratories to conduct random checks on fish stocks and those found guilty should be punished.

“But, don’t stop trucks bringing fresh fish to Goa,” Mr. Lobo said, noting that a campaign on social media about formalin in fish had created the scare.

According to the reports, even the Tourism minister Manohar Ajgaonkar supported the statement of Mr. Lobo saying the government’s decision should not affect the state’s economy and that traders who comply with the FDA guidelines should be allowed to import fish. 

It may be recalled that health minister Vishwajit Rane had recently come out with the statement banning fish from neighboring states for six months when the matter of fish coming in Thermocol Boxes from the neighboring states came into the light.     

Rane said a big indicator of the “existing problem” was that “not a single trader has registered according to the FDA guidelines, nor introduced a truck as required by the guidelines”. The government had told traders to use insulated vehicles, ensure scientific stacking of ice to fish ratio, and maintain cleanliness parameters for transporting fish, reported the Indian Express

“We gave them enough time and asked them to get themselves FDA approved and also ensure that they have FDA transport permit based on guidelines set. Not a single trader has listed themselves and it only shows that compliance is still not in place,” he added.    

The export of fish did not stop

Claiming that the ban on fish imports was a “confidence-building measure”, the minister added: “For now we are saying six months. But if they (traders) comply and register, and ensure that their vehicles are insulated then we do not mind starting (imports) again.”

Meanwhile the social activist Mr. Sanjeev Raiturkar has condemned the export of fish when the locals have to suffer due to the lack of fish. According to the reports in TOI Mr. Raiturkar said that The government must impose a ban on fish export so that the catch can be used for the local consumption.          

“Goan fish traders have been deprived of their livelihood in the wake of the formalin issue and the subsequent ban on fish imported from neighboring states. The government must impose a ban on fish exported from Goa to fill this gap,” he said.  

All this makes one thing clear that the people in power need to act swiftly and stop the export of fish to compensate the ban on imports otherwise the situation will be such that people of Goa will not have the fish to consume while the fish is getting out of Goa for the sake of better price. 

It is not sure if the politicians are supporting the exporters by not putting the ban on them but if they can take the decision of banning the import then they must also look into the exports of the fish from the state. What are your views on this? Please do share your valuable comments on this serious issue. 

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