Fishermen brothers net a lottery off Mumbai coast, sell a fish for Rs 5.5 lakh

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MUMBAI: It’s a fish, it’s a ghol, it’s a fortune! On Sunday, two Palghar fishermen netted a ghol fish, which fetched them Rs 5.5 lakh the next day, making it the costliest fish to be caught along the Mumbai-Palghar coastline. The fish, which weighed around 30kg, was netted by Mahesh Meher and his brother Bharat, who set out in the sea in their small boat Sai Laxmi on Friday. While returning to the Murbe coast after netting their regular catch of pomfret and other varieties, they caught the ghol. The fish is a delicacy, but more than that is prized in East Asia for the medicinal properties of its internal organs. In fact, the ghol (black-spotted croaker; scientific name Protonibea diacanthus) is known as ‘the fish with a heart of gold’. It comes in several price grades, with the lower ones ending up in local markets. The highest grade fish, such as the one caught on Sunday, is usually exported to Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Japan. “Even a low-grade fish fetches Rs 800-1,000 a kg,” said Utan fisherman Malcolm Kasugar. In May, a Bhayander fisherman, William Gabru, caught a high-grade ghol off Utan, which fetched him Rs 5.16 lakh. Ghol skin is recognized as a good source of high-quality collagen, which can be used in the manufacture of functional food and cosmetic products as also medicines. Its fins are used by pharmaceutical companies to manufacture soluble stitches and also in wine purification. No wonder.