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Gujarat's Ghol: State Fish - Economic, Conservation



  Dec 05, 2023

Gujarat's State Fish: The Black-Spotted Croaker (Ghol)



Gujarat has recently highlighted the black-spotted croaker, locally known as Ghol, by designating it as the state fish. This decision places the Ghol in the limelight over more commonly known fish species like Pomfret, Bombay Duck, and Ribbonfish. The primary reasons for this selection are its rarity and high economic value, derived largely from its medicinal properties.

Key Highlights

Economic and Medicinal Value: Ghol, often referred to as 'Sea Gold', is highly valued for its body parts which possess culinary and medicinal properties. Rich in nutrients like magnesium, iodine, Omega-3, and iron, Ghol is believed to offer various health benefits, including maintaining eyesight, muscle toning, and aiding infant brain development. Its air bladder is particularly sought after for medicinal purposes, leading to high demand in international markets like China, Singapore, and Hong Kong.

Price and Rarity: The cost of Ghol can range between Rs 5,000 and Rs 15,000 per kilo. Given that one fish can weigh around 25 kilos, a single catch can be extremely lucrative for fishermen.

Conservation Concerns: The announcement of Ghol as a state fish has raised concerns among conservationists. While this distinction underscores its economic importance, there's uncertainty regarding the impact on its long-term conservation. The black-spotted croaker is not currently listed under Gujarat's protected marine species, which mainly covers certain shark species.

Fishing Practices and Challenges: Ghol is often caught unintentionally in large nets. By the time fishermen realize they have caught a Ghol, it is usually dead, unlike larger species like sharks, which are often alive when caught and can be released. This incidental catch poses a challenge for conservation efforts.

Gujarat's Blue Economy: The fishing industry is a significant part of Gujarat's 'Blue Economy'. In 2021-22, the state produced over 8 million metric tonnes of fish and exported 200,000 metric tonnes, contributing 17% to India's fish exports. The state government has implemented initiatives like VAT relief assistance on diesel for boats and the Fishermen’s Group Accident Insurance Scheme to support the fishing community.
 
Future Outlook
The designation of Ghol as Gujarat's state fish is a move that acknowledges its economic and cultural significance. However, it also brings to the forefront the need for a balanced approach that considers both economic benefits and the necessity of conservation. The scientific community and state authorities are expected to develop a comprehensive conservation plan to address these challenges.

SRIRAM’s


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