x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Stormy weather drives up fish prices

Boats were ordered to stay in the harbour over the weekend, meaning traders and customers had to make do with a reduced supply.

There was only a small rise in prices at markets in Abu Dhabi at the weekend, between Dh5 and Dh15, according to traders at the Mina Fish Market. Sammy Dallal / The National
There was only a small rise in prices at markets in Abu Dhabi at the weekend, between Dh5 and Dh15, according to traders at the Mina Fish Market. Sammy Dallal / The National

Fish supplies in the Northern Emirates have dwindled and prices have almost doubled as a result of the stormy weather.

Boats were ordered to stay in the harbour over the weekend, meaning traders and customers had to make do with a reduced supply.

At Umm Al Quwain market, most stalls were empty with only a few selling fish – some at double the usual price.

Hammour cost Dh200 a kilogram instead of the usual Dh100, sherry fish rose from Dh50 to Dh120, kanad from Dh40 to Dh100 and biya from Dh30 to Dh70.

Hussein Al Hajri, the president of the UAQ Fishermen’s Association, said the ban on boats going to sea would remain in place until it was certain it was safe for crews.

“The Coastguards are aware of this ban and would not let any boat go to the sea until the National Centre for Meteorology confirms that the sea is safe and a ban is lifted,” he said. “It’s better for the fishermen to be safe and keep their lives than tempering the rough seas and losing their lives.”

Seif Saeed Al Ali, a fishermen based in UAQ, said he was avoiding going out to sea and was grateful the authorities had insisted on a ban.

“If there is no such ban there would be some people willing to take risks and brace the high waves in hope that they would get more money as other fishermen are not working,” he said.

“The waves are so high and anyone going to the sea could easily lose their lives.

“It’s better to lose some fish or money as you can make it up another day, but not life as everyone lives once.”

There was only a small rise in prices at markets in Abu Dhabi at the weekend, between Dh5 and Dh15, according to traders at the Mina Fish Market.

Hammour was being sold on Monday morning at between Dh50 and Dh55 a kilo, biya for Dh10 to Dh15 a kilo, sherry for Dh20 to Dh25 a kilo and pomfret at Dh30 a kilo.

But as crews prepare to embark on their four-day voyages out to sea, sellers hope prices will return to normal.

Suresh Tandal, who has been a fisherman for four years, said: “As the weather begins to settle in we will go deep in the sea and hope for a good catch due to the season. This will help bring fish prices further down.

In summer we suffer due to scorching hot weather conditions as fish swim deep into the sea and we find it hard to catch them, while in rough seas they do the same.”

Another fisherman, Ganpat Tandal, who has worked in the UAE for two years, said: “I did not travel since a week but I hope to begin my journey tomorrow or the day after. We’ll see if the weather further improves.

“During this season we are always ready to take up such challenges of foggy weather, rain and the winds. Fierce wind always plays spoilsports.”

ykakande@thenational.ae

anwar@thenational.ae