Assam forest department officials on Thursday seized 500 Channa Barca fishes at Dibrugarh airport during an anti-smuggling operation. Officials informed that they are estimating the seized fishes to be worth around Rs 4.5 crores in the international markets.
According to initial reports, Sridhan Sarkar and Jiten Sarkar under the banner of Kolkata-based Choudhury Enterprises, tried to smuggle the exotic Channa Barca fishes. They were due to take an IndiGo flight from Dibrugarh airport through which they had planned to smuggle the fish.
However, the duo was stopped in their tracks when the forest department officials intercepted them at the airport. Officials mentioned that the accused duo had purchased the fish from various rural sellers in the pockets of Guijan area of the Tinsukia district of Assam.
They had bought the fish at a price of Rs 400 per kilogram and had plans to smuggle the fish to South East Asian countries like Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia and China.
Taking to X, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma wrote, “In a successful anti-smuggling operation carried out by @assamforest- 500 Chnna Barca fishes have been seized at Dibrugarh Airport. These rare species of fish are valued at ₹4.5 crore in the international market & is one of the biggest exotic fish seizures in recent times.”
The Barca snakehead (Channa barca) is a rare species of snakehead fish. It is endemic to the upper Brahmaputra river basin in northeastern India and Bangladesh. In 2014 it was assessed as critically endangered in Bangladesh by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).