x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Fujairah fish prices double in wake of ban imposed after Red Tide

The outbreak of Red Tide off Diba Husn has doubled local fish prices.

FUJAIRAH // The outbreak of Red Tide off Diba Husn has doubled local fish prices. Supplies were reduced after fishermen were asked to not to catch fish affected by the toxic algae and the public was advised not eat them. The fishing ban was lifted on Friday but prices remain high. Small kanaad, or kingfish, that normally cost Dh25 (US$6.8) sold in Diba Husn for Dh65, with larger fish costing up to Dh95. The popular hamour fish that normally sells for Dh25 a kilo was priced at Dh55.

Shoppers, indignant at the surge in prices, called on the authorities to control them. Ali Ibrahim, who lives in Diba Husn, said that despite the high prices, his family could not go long without eating fish, especially during Ramadan. "My seven-year-old daughter is fasting for the first time and fish is her favourite dish," he said. "We have to let her have some or she will be discouraged." Qassim Abdrazzak, a trader in the Diba Husn fish market, said he had no choice but to keep the prices up. "We haven't worked for three days and our customers have been working, they should take heart and buy as we also have families and deserve compensation," he said. The Diba Husn Municipality said on Friday that it had eradicated the Red Tide problem and that fishing could now resume.

Mohammed al Mutwawa, head of the local authority, said 17,000 dead fish were removed from the water over two days. One unfortunate repercussion was the stench that covered most of the region. Mohamoud Hakim said he could smell dead fish in his home 3km from the shore. "I think the municipality should do something. It smells so bad that I feel sick after eating my iftar," he said. The Red Tide is caused by algae blooms that kill fish by depleting oxygen in the water and releasing toxins.

A health expert from the municipality said people who eat contaminated fish could suffer numbness, dizziness, nausea, fever and muscle paralysis. People who swim in the Red Tide risked breathing irritation, an itchy throat and red eyes. @Email:ykakande@thenational.ae