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Sunday, March 8, 2009

Fish prices soar with shortage

A shortage of fish has caused prices to shoot up – all because of a controversial fish container ruling. Checks at several wet markets here and in Kuala Lumpur showed that prices of fish had shot up by up to 30%.

The Fisheries Development Authority of Malaysia (LKIM) now requires local distributors and wholesalers to use insulated fish containers from only one supplier.

The ruling, which came into effect last week, has been criticised by the distributors and wholesalers. Checks at the Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) and PJ Old Town wet markets showed that fish prices had shot up, with some stalls even having to close due to a lack of supply.

Fish out of stock: Market-goers looking at the fish for sale at the Old Town market in Petaling Jaya. The new ruling on insulated containers has caused a shortage and fishmongers have raised prices.

Fish traders at both markets complained that business had also suffered because of the protest by distributors and wholesalers, who had refused to comply with the ruling.

“We have had no supply of imported fish at all since Thursday. Even local fish supply is limited,” said Chin Tong Lin, 44, a fishmonger at the PJ Old Town market.

Another fishmonger there, S. Gyanasegran, 49, agreed. “There just is not enough fish to sell.”

Gyanasegran said his daily income had dropped by about RM400 as a result.

Fishmonger Jeffrey Tan, 30, who trades in the TTDI market, said the new ruling and protests would only affect consumers.

“The protests have clearly affected my business. Look at my stall, it is practically empty.”

In Penang, MANJIT KAUR reports that although there was sufficient supply, prices of fish had shot up by about 20%. “There was hardly any supply of imported fish over the past few days especially from Thailand,’’ said fishmonger Teh Chin Siang at the Bayan Baru wet market.


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