Unruly weather keeps Selangor fisherman from going out to sea
KLANG: Unstable weather conditions are keeping fishermen away from the sea, resulting in a drop in their yield.
This, said veteran fisherman Chia Yeow Leong, has led to a slight increase in the price of fish and other seafood as the year comes to a close.
Chia said that in his area, the rains were accompanied by strong winds.
“It is unsafe and the boats can overturn. This is one of the main reasons why fishermen are not going to sea daily,” said the headman at the fishing village of Bagan Sekinchan.
Sekinchan is located on Selangor’s northern coastline.
Visibility, said Chia, was also poor at sea during stormy weather and fishermen feared colliding with each other’s boats.
On days that were not so windy and stormy, Chia added, fishermen from his village made short trips to sea because they had to make ends meet.
“They can’t go out to the deep areas, so the catch is not very good and the quantity is poorer than what they can get during normal weather conditions,” he said, adding that this was probably the reason for the increase in the price of fish.
Fisherman Mohd Jaman Idris said his counterparts in some areas of Johor, Melaka, Negri Sembilan and most parts of Selangor were not as badly affected as those in the northern and east coast states.
Mohd Zaman is based in Morib, on the southern Selangor coastline.
“We are in the middle of the Straits of Malacca, so the land mass on the right and left of the sea passage acts as a buffer zone against the wind and rain,” he said.
Since the northern and east coast states face the open sea, the coastline there bears the brunt of any stormy weather, he said.
“However, there is still impact from the rainy season at the end of the year in Morib, with fishermen catching less fish than they do during regular weather,” he added.
On the increase in fish prices, with even that of ikan kembung (mackerel) – once considered the poor man’s fish – hitting RM20 a kg, Mohd Jaman said this was probably due to middlemen and fishmongers.
Ikan kembung, he said, is usually caught in waters around the northern states where it is more challenging for fishermen to go out to sea during bad weather.
Trader Mohd Izarudin Zailan, who runs a stall at the Bagan Lalang fresh fish market, said there was a shortage of supply.
“For the past few days, rain has hindered boats from going to sea, so the supply is low.
“Once the weather improves, they will go back to sea. Prices are expected to be more or less stable and won’t skyrocket,” said Mohd Izarudin.
Kuala Lumpur Hoi Seong Association (fish wholesalers) president Toh Song Thua said fish prices were slightly higher.
He said the wholesale price for mackerel is now RM15 to RM16 per kg, slightly higher than the usual RM14 to RM15.
Black pomfret is being sold at RM28 per kg, compared to the usual price of RM25 to RM26.
Toh said fishermen were still going out to sea despite the rain.