Fish shortage pushes price up

18 Jun 2023 01:12pm
Some choose to buy fish in Chepor, Ipoh because of the more reasonable price.
Some choose to buy fish in Chepor, Ipoh because of the more reasonable price.

IPOH - The scarcity of fish is one of the reasons contributing to the current increase in fish prices at the market, even though the demand remains the same.

Trader Muhammad Najib Abdul Mutalib, aged 45 said the current hike is due to the increase in prices from fishing vessels as compared to the past few years.

As a result, he said it is unavoidable due to the declining fish catch coupled with high demand from traders.

"I have fish supplies from Bagan Datuk and Pantai Remis.

Previously, mackerel fish could be sold at RM10 for four kilograms but currently the price at the fishing vessel ranges between RM10 to RM12 per kilogramme. That is why certain types of fish have to be sold for as high as RM16 to RM18 per kilogramme," he said.

Mackerel fish sold at RM12 per kilogramme.
Mackerel fish sold at RM12 per kilogramme.

"Not only are customers complaining about the high prices but we traders also feel the pressure as we dislike selling at such high price points. It is unfortunate for those who cannot afford it.

They have to carefully consider their purchases," he told Sinar.

However, he said there aretraders who sell the fish based on a fixed plate price instead of selling it by weight, making it more affordable for customers.

Meanwhile, Sinar 's survey conducted in Ipoh revealed that fish prices are still reasonable despite some minor increases.

Torpedo scad fish is sold at RM10 per kilogramme.
Torpedo scad fish is sold at RM10 per kilogramme.

There are also consumers who opt to buy fish directly from fishermen as the prices are more reasonable compared to those at grocery stores.

Fishermen offer mackerel fish at RM12 per kilogramme, torpedo scad at RM10 per kilogram, squid at RM28 per kilogram, and shrimp at RM24 per kilogramme. The prices of fish sold in the market have increased by over 20 per cent.

Not only in the capital, but Sinar's survey at markets nationwide also revealed an increase in fish prices after the recent Aidilfitri celebration.

Several types of fish, including mackerel, sardine, Indian mackerel and bream have experienced price hikes.

Zulkiflee Md Yusof, the chairman of Pahang State Fishermen's Association said the current rise in fish prices in several states to several factors.

Zulkiflee said there is a scarcity of marine life which is a significant factor in the rise of fish prices.

Additionally, he said that the current weather conditions and the effects of global warming have also contributed to the problem.

Zulkiflee added that during the hotspell seafood catch at this point has recorded a significant decrease of two to three tonnes compared to the 10 tonnes of fish previously.

He explained that among other factors that led to fish price increase at the market was the reduction of diesel subsidies from the government to fishermen.

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According to him, the action taken by the government in 2022 by reducing the subsidy from 20,000 liters to 18,000 liters per month has indirectly increased the cost for fishermen to catch fish.

"The government should not reduce the subsidy as it takes us (fishermen) a long time to bring back profitable catch.

"Being a fisherman is to find lost things because we don't know if there are fish or not in the water," he said.

Meanwhile, the National Fishermen's Association (Nekmat) chairman Abdul Hamid Bahari is of the view that the rise in fish price at the market is also due to demand exceeding supply.

Nowadays, he said that it is impossible to lower fish price because the amount of fish caught is not like how it used to be.

"Catching fish using traditional methods allow us to sell mackerel, moult and sardine fish at the market for as low as RM3 per kilogram (kg) but now it costs RM12," he said.


Fish type and price per kilogram (previous/current)

Mackerel RM12/RM15

Sardine RM8/RM14

Bream RM8/RM13

Indian bream RM12/RM15

Red snapper RM18/RM25

Albacore Tuna RM11/RM15

Spanish mackerel RM45/RM50

*Based on Sinar Ahad survey in several states

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