Sunday, October 17

Bad weather driving fish prices up

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Fatmawati showing a couple of ‘ikan sebelah’, which is priced at RM13 per kilo when supply is low.

Fatmawati showing a couple of ‘ikan sebelah’, which is priced at RM13 per kilo when supply is low.

KOTA KINABALU: Bad weather and rough seas have taken a toll on fish supply, causing prices to increase.

Such weather naturally makes it difficult for fishermen to provide much supply of fish, resulting in suppliers and fishmongers having to raise prices.

A survey among fishmongers at the markets in Donggongon (Penampang) and the city centre showed that there is an average increase of about RM3 to RM6 in the price of all types of fish.

“It depends on the weather. Not many fishing boats would want to ride out a bad weather so we get less supplies during a rainy season, especially during thunderstorms,” said Fatmawati Hussin, 37, a fishmonger at the SAFMA fish market here.

“We can sell ‘ikan kerapu’ (groupers) at RM12 per kilo on normal days, compared to RM18 per kilo when there is reduced supply, normally during bad weather. The price of ‘ikan sebelah’ (halibut) can go up from RM10 on normal days to RM13,” she said when met yesterday.

At the Donggongon fish market, even the most common type of fish such as ‘basung’ (mackerel) can be sold at RM12 per kilogramme, compared to its normal RM8 per kilo rate.

“It’s unpredictable, just like the weather. If the suppliers are selling it at prices higher than normal then you know that they’re low on supply, hence the hike,” said Raina, who sells fish at the Donggongon fish market.

The price of prawns, however, remain unaffected.

According to Ronnie Abdul Rahim, 43, a prawn seller at the SAFMA fish market, the price of prawns rarely change as there is constant supply of it, unlike fish.

“There are various types of prawns being sold at different prices. Apart from seasonal migration, the price of prawns are rarely affected by the weather.

“Fish is different. It’s a tougher business,” said Ronnie, who took over the family business from his father.