Pakistani Fishermen strike gold, earning millions of rupees from rare catch

A group of Pakistani fishermen in Sindh province caught 300 blackspotted croakers, worth Rs140 million ($500,939), near Thatta district, according to the announcement made by Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF) on March 16.

The blackspotted croaker, known as “Sua” in Sindhi, is highly valued internationally. It is cherished as a culinary delicacy in countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, China, and Japan, lauded for its exquisite taste and texture.

“Two days ago, a fishing boat belonging to Hanif Katiyar made an extraordinary catch of nearly 280 rare sua fish, which have been sold for Rs140 million,” Kamal Shah, PFF spokesperson, told  news agencies.

The amount will be distributed among the 35 to 45 fishermen aboard, with the boat’s owner set to get a substantial portion of the earnings.

“Even a small share of such a substantial sum is life changing for a fisherman,” Shah added. “The days, sometimes weeks, of these poor fishermen are spent out at sea but yield only meager earnings to support their families.”

In a similar event last November, Muhammad Juman, an experienced boat captain, and his crew caught blackspotted croakers worth Rs170 million ($599,783).

The soaring value of these fish is attributed to their medicinal properties, especially the dried swim bladder, which is considered a speculative investment similar to gold, as explained by Muhammad Moazam Khan, a technical adviser with the World-Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

“The dried swim bladder is sold at $20,000 to $80,000 per kilogram, which is why it is used as speculative investment,” he said. “In 2015, when its market went down, many in China who had invested in it committed suicide.”

Khan also emphasized the alarming decline of these fish in Pakistani waters, noting a staggering 95% decrease in their population. This decline has made catches like these increasingly rare and valuable.

Adding to the intrigue, fishermen maintain a secretive approach regarding their catch and sales. Fearful of potential robbery, they keep their hauls hidden, underscoring the lucrative nature of their trade.

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