Malaysia: Market-goers see increase in seafood prices due to high-tide phenomenon

DAWN CHAN New Straits Times 20 Oct 16;

PORT KLANG: Azizah Majid now has to think twice before buying her usual assortment of fresh fish, prawn and squid from the Pandamaran wet market.

This is because the recent high-tide phenomenon, which hit parts of Klang and Selangor’s other coastal areas, had led to a hike in the prices of seafood products.

Azizah, 46, a housewife from Bandar Botanic, says she has had to fork out several ringgit extra since Saturday to buy the goods.

“I noticed that the prices had increased slightly over the past few days. Normally, I would make a quick stop and would not hesitate to buy fish, prawns and squid from one or two stalls here.

"However, over the past few days, I have been going from one stall to another just to survey the prices before deciding on the best deal.

"Today (yesterday), the price for a kilogramme of ikan kembung had gone up from RM6 to RM7 when it was usually RM5. I saw a stall setting the price at RM20 for a kilogramme of squid.

I was told that due to the high-tide phenomenon, fishermen are going out to the sea less frequently, causing the prices to increase.

“For the time being, I have switched to cooking chicken dishes as the price hasn’t changed, just like vegetables," said Azizah. Azizah, met at the Pandamaran wet market yesterday, hoped the prices would come down soon.

"I have to be smart with my money the next time around. I am contemplating stocking up on food items a week before to be more cost-effective."

Another Pandamaran wet market shopper, Mohd Nasir Abu, said he, too, noticed that the prices of fresh fish, prawns and squid, had gone up since Sunday.

"One kilogramme of squid had cost only about RM15 last week, but on Sunday it increased by RM5.

I saw that the price of ikan kerisi was at RM6.50 at one stall while another was priced at RM6. The stall offering RM6.50 was of better quality while the RM6 had more pieces of fish that did not look very fresh.

So I guess we have to stretch our money for the next few days, but I cannot complain because the prices here are still very affordable compared to supermarkets," he said.

Nasir, who works as a boat mechanic, said the increased prices could be due to less fishermen going out to sea.

The 56-year-old said choppy waters, coupled with strong winds, are hazardous to fishermen, especially those with smaller vessels.

"They may want to maximise their profits to make up for the days they are unable to go out to sea," he added. Meanwhile, stall operator Razali Abdul Ghani said the price of ikan siakap (sea bass) was already set at RM11 a kilogramme by his supplier.

He added that the fishermen did not want to take risks as the waves are high and the situation has been compounded by the downpour, hence why the prices offered to him had gone up.

"I increased the price by only RM1, so my profit is very minimal. I have to take care of my customers and at the same time pay my employees. So I am not making money at all but at a loss.

But this would happen only for the next few days and I hope the prices will drop soon," said Razali, who has been in the business for 10 years.

Meanwhile, Fisheries Development Authority chairman Datuk Seri Irmohizam Ibrahim said they were monitoring the supply of fish, which he said is stable for the time being.

"There is a stock of about 20-tonnes of frozen 'ikan rakyat' under the National Fishermen's Association (NEKMAT) catered for the peninsular which can last for two months," he told the New Straits Times.

Ikan rakyat are made up of kembung, pelaling, selayang, kerisi, cencaru and selar.

Govt mulls bringing more seafood supplies from overseas during high tide, says minister
INTAN BAHA New Straits Times 19 Oct 16;

TAPAH: The government is considering bringing in more seafood from abroad to offset possible price rise following the high tide phenomenon in the country.

Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin said he agreed that at the moment, there was limited supply of seafood available in the local markets which trigger a price increase.

He said consumers should also prepared paying 'reasonable price' for seafood due to high-tide phenomenon.

"Our fishermen risks their lives to brave strong winds whenever they go out to sea.

"I will consider to bring in more seafood supplies from overseas to offer alternative to consumers," he said.

Hamzah was speaking to reporters at the launch of Price Control Scheme for Deepavali 2016 at TF Mart Value, here.