With a 45kg Katla fish to sell, fish trader Abul Hasan might hit the jackpot this year at the Moulvibazar fish fest. His asking price for the gigantic fish is Tk80,000.
Hasan claims the fish, caught from the Kushiara River three days ago, is the biggest at the fair.
Of his stock worth Tk8 lakh, he has already sold fish worth Tk2 lakh.
The fair seems to have attracted heavyweights this year, with many fish weighing 10kg and above. The three-day-long traditional fish fair in Sherpur, Moulvibazar Sadar upazila began on Tuesday, marking the Poush Sankranti – the end of the Bangla month Poush.
From Monday, the day before Poush Sangkranti, fish traders thronged the fair venue with catches from various points of Sylhet, including Hail haor, Kawadighi haor, Boro haor, Hakaluki, Tangua, Kushiara, Manu and Surma rivers.
"Alongside the districts of greater Sylhet, fish collected from Khulna, Satkhira, Jashore, Rajshahi and Mymensingh have also been brought to the fest," said local fish trader Mizanur Rahman.
Fish being sold at the fair include Boal, Aair, Chital, Rui, Katla, Koi and Magur. Alongside fish, different kinds of handicraft and food from rural areas are also being sold at the fair.
Jony Paul, a visitor at the fair, said he did not come to buy any fish but to look at the spectacle of varieties of gigantic fish.
No fish were being sold below Tk4,000 at the fair.
Smaller fish were priced between Tk5,000 and Tk10,000 while the price of medium sized fish reached as high as Tk30,000. Large fish have been priced between Tk50,000 and Tk1 lakh.
Phul Mia, a UK expatriate who hails from Goala Bazar, said he bought two big Chital fish and three Rui fish for Tk55,000.
Introduced 200 years ago by Zamindar Matur Babu at Manurmukh, on the bank of connecting point of the Kushiara and Manu rivers, the fair has been arranged at Sherpur for the last 50 years.
Meanwhile, another three-day fish fair has been organised at Lalbazar in Bandarbazar, Sylhet.
President of Lalbazar Fisheries Traders' Cooperative Association Enayetur Rahman said, "We organise the fish fair during Poush Sankranti to honour our tradition. Big and rare fish caught from different rivers and haors are brought to the fair. This gives city residents an opportunity to familiarise themselves with various species of fish."
The key attraction at the fair is a sea fish stall run by trader Sabuj Ahmad. As Sylhet has no access to the sea, locals do not get many opportunities to buy sea fish.
Sabuj said each kilogram of Koral fish is being sold at Tk1,200, Mayurpankhi at Tk1,200, Shapla fish at Tk600, Bamas at Tk600, Bhata at Tk800, Tuna at Tk400, Bhoil at Tk450, Sail fish at Tk1,500, and Tabsi fish at Tk600.
Freshwater fish like Rui, Katla, Chital, Boal, Shrimp and Pabda are also available at the fair.
Fish trader Kalam Mia demanded Tk35,000 for a Boal fish but could not sell it as of Tuesday afternoon.
General Secretary of Lalbazar Fisheries Traders' Cooperative Association Golzar Ahmed said they have been arranging the fair since 2017.
Both fairs will conclude on Wednesday.