It is a popular food dish in South India, East India and in the People's Republic of Bangladesh. The fish contributes about 12% of the total fish production and about 1% of GDP (money earned) in Bangladesh. About 450,000 people are directly involved with catching it for a living. About four to five million people are involved in the trade.
It is also the National fish of Bangladesh. Other names include: palla fish, hilsha, ellis, ilish, (Bengali:ইলিশ): ilish, (Oriya:ଇଲିଶି): ilishii, Sindhī: پلو مڇي pallu machhi, (Telugu:పులస): pulasa or polasa.
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