For the longest time, fisherman M Suman has dreamed of selling the fish he catches himself.
“I have been fishing from the age of eight with my father,” says the 36-year-old from Pulicat. “Wholesale buyers and sellers who depend on us have prospered. We fishermen struggle financially,” he adds.
Since the catch changes hands at least twice before reaching the final buyer, the fisherman walks away with a low profit. “After going to sea, I come back exhausted, and don’t have the energy to sell the catch,” says Suman.
The pandemic made life tougher for small-boat fishermen such as him. “Once lockdown was eased, we ended up with excess, unsold fish. Then, gradually, people started coming to our markets to buy in bulk. We were overwhelmed by the sudden demand,” says A Mugan, leader of the Pulicat Youth Federation. “That’s when we came up with the idea of selling our catch online.”
Xavier Benedict, the founder of AARDE, designed the website, which was launched last week. For the first time in history, Pulicat’s prawns, crabs, and fish caught by small-boat fishermen, were put up for sale online.
Suman’s tone over phone is enough to suggest that he has a huge grin on his face. “Hopefully, we too can go to the next level in our business.” Suman knows buying fish online is nothing new. “I myself supply to some online retailers,” he adds.
But there is a difference: “Once customers place their order, we will let them know if it is available only once the boat arrives. We will also send them photos and videos of their fish being packed,” he explains. “This way, they are assured of fresh fish that is not stored with ice. Anyone who has tasted Pulicat fish will know that it is superior in quality and taste.”
The order will be delivered early next morning. “Right now, we have vans leaving Pulicat at 2 am for fishmarkets at Saidapet, Red Hills, Chintadripet, and Vanagaram; we plan to transport our customers’ orders in these vans. Delivery will be done through delivery portals we have tied up with,” explains Suman.
Mugan says that if things go well, orders will be delivered no less than two hours after the catch arrives. “We set out for fishing in two batches: from 3 am to 10 am and from 3 pm to 8 pm. If more orders start coming in, members from our federation will deliver the fish themselves,” he adds. Think about it: a fisherman at your doorstep with the fish he caught.
To order, visit https://www.desifish.in/, WhatsApp 9566063409.