Fish Markets 14

The main fish markets near the modern village of Harappa were within the village itself as well as the District market in the local District center, Sahiwal. Most of the fish within the local market of Harappa were supplied through local fisher folk, but some also came from the regional market in Sahiwal. A lot of the fish in these larger markets come from surrounding regions as well as from the fish processing and market areas of Karachi, approximately 800 km to the south.

One interesting aspect of the fish market is the presence of “frozen” marine catfish, Family Ariidae. These aren’t frozen, but they are put on ice. When they leave the fish markets of Karachi by rail, they are grey and could have been on the fishing boats for 10 days prior to landing. Once they get to Sahiwal, they may have been on ice for about two weeks with the ice rubbing the skin off. Instead of a nice gray color, they appear white. We often called them “safaid” (or white) fish. I’ve had several discussions about these fish within the local economy. As stated earlier, fresh fish is somewhat expensive compared to other local meats, but this fish is sold for a substantially lower cost than fresh fish. The consumption of the fish may be related more to socio-economic factors than taste, although some urban dwellers may have enjoyed the taste of this fish.