Ex­pect lower catch and higher prices

Fish­er­men warn of seafood and veg­etable price hike due to mon­soon sea­son

The Star Malaysia - - Nation -

IPOH: Fish­er­men in sev­eral states have warned of a price in­crease for seafood as they brace for a con­sid­er­ably lower catch, mainly as a re­sult of the ad­verse weather.

The price of seafood from the coast of Perak is set to in­crease by be­tween 20% and 60% soon as its yield is af­fected by the mon­soon sea­son.

Pan­tai Remis Fish­er­men As­so­ci­a­tion sec­re­tary Jeanne Khor said the rainy sea­son could cut the fish­er­men’s catch by 50% to 60%.

“It has not been a good year for the fish­er­men in Pan­tai Remis (num­ber­ing about 300).

“A boat that would usu­ally net about 10 tonnes of fish a year is only catch­ing about half of that now,” said Khor, who is also Malaysia Fish In­dus­tries Gen­eral As­so­ci­a­tion sec­re­tary.

With a lower yield, she said, prices would go up.

“De­pend­ing on the size, ikan kem­bung (mack­erel) could rise from RM5 or RM6 to about RM10 per kilo.

“The price of sar­dines could rise from RM4 to RM7, while cen­caru (tor­pedo scad) could go from RM4 or RM5 to RM6 or RM7,” she added.

Kuala Sepetang Fish­er­men Co-oper­a­tive rep­re­sen­ta­tive Bee Liang Chai said the price of prawns could rise by 20% due to lower yield this time around.

The big­ger prawns, he said, could cost about RM40 per kg, while the mid-sized and smaller ones were priced at RM20 and RM10 per kg re­spec­tively.

“It rained heav­ily in the last two months but even though there is less rain now, the catch has de­creased com­pared to pre­vi­ous years,” he added.

Mean­while, Cameron High­lands Malay Farm­ers As­so­ci­a­tion chair­man Datuk Syed Ab­dul Rah­man Syed Ab­dul Rashid said he was ex­pect­ing a 20% to 25% drop in the har­vest of veg­eta­bles dur­ing the rainy sea­son.

He noted that the rain could also cause the pro­duce to be spoilt by fun­gus growth or bac­te­rial dis­eases.

Prices of veg­eta­bles may in­crease due to the lower har­vest, es­pe­cially this month and the next, he added.

Toma­toes are ex­pected to cost RM4 per kg, up from RM3, while cabbages will go from RM1.20 to RM2, and French beans may cost be­tween RM4 and RM4.50, from RM2.

Syed Ab­dul Rah­man said the prices might normalise af­ter Christ­mas.

In Me­laka, fish­er­men are also an­tic­i­pat­ing a lower haul un­til the end of next month due to ad­verse weather and rough seas.

Rashid Mat Zin, 47, from Pu­lau Gadong, said they could only cast their nets along the shore­line due to choppy wa­ters in mid-sea.

“Mon­strous waves and strong winds make it hard for us to con­trol our boats,” he said.

“We had to skip go­ing to sea when there were thun­der­storms and only fished along the shore­line.”

Rashid con­ceded that due to the dip in their haul, fish prices in the state had shot up.

“It is the worst this year be­cause of the un­usu­ally heavy rain­fall and strong winds,” he said, adding that only huge fish­ing ves­sels could en­dure the rough seas.

In Jo­hor Baru, how­ever, fish­er­men are blam­ing the mid­dle­men for the dras­tic in­crease in the price of fish dur­ing the mon­soon sea­son.

South Jo­hor Fish­er­men As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Azli Mohd Aziz said: “We are still sell­ing our fish at RM10 per kilo, while the mid­dle­men who buy from the fish­er­men are us­ing the rainy sea­son as an ex­cuse to hike up prices by RM18 to RM20 per kilo.

“I feel sorry for the con­sumers as they are forced to pay pre­mium prices for their fish now.”

Azli said many as­so­ci­a­tion mem­bers were not go­ing too far out to sea to avoid the huge waves and winds.

“We fish within a 3km ra­dius due to the mon­soon, which is ex­pected to last un­til Fe­bru­ary,” he said, adding that the Gov­ern­ment should set a ceil­ing price to en­sure that prices do not spi­ral out of con­trol.

He sug­gested that the Gov­ern­ment set up more fish­er­men’s mar­kets for them to sell their catch di­rectly to con­sumers.

Greens for grabs: A veg­etable ven­dor man­ning his stall at the Jalan Oth­man mar­ket in Petaling Jaya.

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