x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Weather pushes fish prices off scale

Lack of stock due to bad weather has driven up prices at some local fish markets, with some species selling for more than three times the usual price.

An Umm Al Qaiwain man looks through the replenished stock at the emirate's main fish market as prices stabilise and business picks up.
An Umm Al Qaiwain man looks through the replenished stock at the emirate's main fish market as prices stabilise and business picks up.

NORTHERN EMIRATES // Last week's bad weather kept fishermen on dry land, resulting in fish stocks falling and some species selling for more than three times the usual price.

Most fishermen heeded advice from the weather bureau to stay ashore, causing a shortage of stock at markets in the country's north.

Some markets in Khor Fakkan and Umm Al Qaiwain were almost half empty on days when the weather was at its worst, resulting in prices for almost all types of fish increasing greatly.

Sherry fish, which is usually Dh30 a kilogram, was priced at Dh120, while the cost of kanad rose to Dh100 a kg from Dh30 in UAQ and Khor Fakkan.

Other species such as biya increased to Dh35 from Dh20, and jaish rose to Dh50 from Dh30.

The weather began to improve over the weekend and fishermen were out at sea as usual on Saturday, replenishing stock, although some prices stayed high, with sherry being sold at Dh55 and kanad at Dh50.

Hussein Al Hajri, the president of the UAQ Fishermen's Association, said that on Tuesday last week the emirate's fish market had stock valued at less than Dh2,000.

"We shall consider importing some fish from other GCC markets if the weather destabilises again and the shortage re-emerges in our market," Mr Al Hajri said.

Salem Khalfan, a fishermen from UAQ, said bad weather had caused prices to rise immeasurably but authorities helped to fix price ceilings and protect shoppers as some fish traders were taking advantage of the situation.

"Already some traders were getting fish from other areas and pricing it highly because there was no price cap," Mr Khalfan said.

But some shoppers chose to keep fish off the menu anyway.

"The weather problem is just temporary for a few days," said Ibrahim Al Kotbi, a resident of UAQ. "I would rather wait when the sea calms down than buy fish at more than double the price I used to get it."

ykakande@thenational.ae