Bad weather leads to rise in fish prices ahead of CNY

The New Paper - - NEWS - REI KUROHI

A re­cent spike in the price of fish that is likely to con­tinue with Chi­nese New Year just weeks away was partly the re­sult of re­cent bad weather, which caused some short­ages among Sin­ga­pore’s reg­u­lar sup­pli­ers, fish sell­ers told The Straits Times.

Mr Lim Choon Yau, who rep­re­sents whole­saler Song Fish Dealer, said fish­er­men in coun­tries like In­done­sia and Thai­land have re­ported poor catches and un­pre­dictable weather which pre­vented them from fish­ing in re­cent weeks.

He said: “The price of Chi­nese pom­fret has risen from about $30 to as much as $50 a kg. If the weather con­tin­ues to be bad, who knows how high the price could rise?”

Late last month, a tsunami in In­done­sia’s Sunda Strait killed hun­dreds of peo­ple and de­stroyed fish­ing boats.

Last week, Trop­i­cal Storm Pabuk caused floods in south­ern Thai­land and killed at least one fish­er­man in Koh Sa­mui.

Su­per­mar­ket chain FairPrice said va­ri­eties of fish that are more pop­u­lar dur­ing Chi­nese New Year, like red grouper, snap­per, threadfin and pom­fret, cost 10 per cent to 15 per cent more now com­pared with last month.

A spokesman said: “Prices of pop­u­lar prod­ucts typ­i­cally in­crease lead­ing up to the fes­tive pe­riod, as they are af­fected by mar­ket de­mand and ex­ter­nal weather con­di­tions.”

Fish­mon­ger Jef­frey Tan, who runs DishTheFish out­lets at West Coast Plaza and Beo Cres­cent Mar­ket, said on Fri­day that prices have risen about 35 per cent over what they were two weeks ago and are chang­ing daily.

On Fri­day, Chi­nese pom­fret at DishTheFish, sourced from In­done­sia, was be­ing sold for $38 to $45 a kg, de­pend­ing on the size of the fish.

Red grouper at DishTheFish was go­ing for $40 to $50 a kg.

Rab­bit­fish was be­ing sold for around $15 to $25 a kg, but Mr Tan said he ex­pected the price to dou­ble or triple in the two weeks lead­ing up to Chi­nese New Year, which co­in­cide with the fish’s spawn­ing sea­son.

Higher prices do not de­ter shop­pers like Madam Cather­ine Chua, who of­ten hosts the re­union din­ner for her ex­tended fam­ily, and is used to pay­ing more for fish dur­ing the Chi­nese New Year, she said.

The 70-year-old busi­ness owner said she plans to buy Chi­nese pom­fret as usual de­spite the price.

TNP FILE PHOTO

Fish­mon­gers said prices have risen and are chang­ing daily.

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