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As UAE heat subsides and fish prices fall UAE traders gear up for increased work

ABU DHABI // Fish prices are expected to fall next month as the summer heat subsides after increasing by as much as 50 per cent over the past few months.

Ali Al Mansouri, president of Abu Dhabi Fishermen Cooperative Society and the UAE Fishermen Cooperative Association, acknowledged the increased prices but said they would soon start to decrease.

“Due to the summer heat the catch is very low, which has resulted in price rises. But the prices will start falling, hopefully from next month when the catch improves,” he said.

This was encouraging news for sellers at the city’s Mina Fish Market where in recent months consumers have had no choice but to pay more for the fewer fish available.

According to sellers, prices had nearly doubled for some fish such as hammour, which is generally sold in winter at Dh35 a kilogram to Dh65. Smaller ones are sold at Dh50 and Dh55 a kilogram.

Fishermen said fish were swimming deeper to escape the summer heat, making them harder to catch.

“Nowadays in a month we go to deep seas once or twice, while in winters we take four trips,” said Indian Hemant Tandle.

“Every year, for four to five months, we are idle until the heat lets up. Our catch totally depends on weather. If it’s winter and seas are calm our catch would be good. But if it’s hot and windy out, the catch will be very poor.”

Bu Hassan Al Khoury, a buyer at Mina, said: “We don’t have a choice but to buy. It happens each summer when fishermen can’t go fishing due to the heat. So we have to bear that in mind. It’s climate, nobody can do anything.”

Emirati fisherman Abdullah Mubarak said the prices depended on the size of a catch.

“Now we don’t get good fish so naturally prices will shoot up,” he said. “It happens every summer as our catch dwindles.”

He said prices had been stagnant for a couple of months.

Sherry are Dh40 a kilogram, up from Dh20, while jais are Dh45 a kilogram, up from Dh25.

Indian Obaid Thachaparamban, a seller at the market, said prices for all local fish had shot up. “In summer prices go up by 50 per cent.”

Bigger hammour are priced at Dh65 a kilo, up from Dh35 or less in winter, while zureidy was Dh45, up from Dh15, he said.

Safi is Dh35 a kilogram, while in good seasons it sells for between Dh15 and Dh20 for a kilo.

Mr Thachaparamban, who has been trading for 14 years, said the fishing regulations were another factor.

“As per the fishing rules, one local has to be with the fisherman while venturing out into the seas, but now locals avoid going in the sea with the hot weather.”

Despite the increase, sellers said prices were beginning to ease. “Last month, hammour shot up to Dh70 a kilogram but now we are selling at Dh60,” said Indian Asif Kappil, who has been selling for 10 years.

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(via The National)