A group of Baloch fishermen became millionaires overnight after they caught 18 large croakers (also called Kir) in the waters of Jiwani earlier this week.
The largest croaker fish was sold for Rs. 500,000, whereas the smaller ones are expected to fetch around Rs. 100,000 each.
Sajad Umer, the captain of the boat, was jubilant at the catch, which was made through bottom-set gillnets. He has already sold fish worth Rs. 800,000 in a single day.
According to experts, spotted croakers and Japanese meagre are two species of large croakers found in Pakistan and have been sold for millions of rupees in the recent past.
The primary reason for such a high price of the fish is its large swim bladder, which is used in making soups thought to ease pregnancy-related discomfort and cure joint pains, among other ailments.
A single swim bladder can fetch as much as Rs. 500,000 per kilogram in the markets of Hong Kong or Guangzhou.
“This area stretched over eight to nine kilometers between Daran and Gunz is apparently being used by croakers as a site for spawning aggregation for some years. Unfortunately, some fishermen have discovered this site and are fast wiping out the remaining population of this species in our waters,” explained Muhammad Moazzam Khan, Technical Adviser at WWF-P said.
Research Associate at WWF-Pakistan’s Information Center at Jiwani, Sudheer Ahmed, said that the fishermen caught several large croakers from the area in 2019 and 2020.
He feared that uncontrolled fishing of croakers in the area may lead to their local extinction. He called on the provincial government to take immediate measures to protect the species, which could be accomplished by declaring the region as a Marine Protected Area.