- Kuwait Times Extra
KUWAIT: After a one-and-a-half-month fishing ban of zubaidi in Kuwaiti waters, zubaidi is back in markets in time for the upcoming Ramadan season. However, even as the local zubaidi has returned, there seemed to be no changes in prices. Zubaidi prices remain very high, according to many customers at two major fish markets. Zubaidi is priced from KD7-9 per kilo, depending on its sizes, and KD42 per basket, again depending on size.
“No, there are no changes in pricing. At first we thought that it could somehow make a difference. But as you see, there is not enough zubaidi in the market; very few catches because they are in deeper waters because of the hot weather conditions out there. So as a result the fish catch is very limited,” said Jalal Majeed, a fish trader in both Mubarakiya and Sharq markets.
Catching local zubaidi is banned each year by Public Authority for Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources (PAAAAFR) from June 1 to July 15 to allow its replenishment. Besides zubaidi, shrimp fishing is banned from Jan 1 to Aug 31. “The price will change only in September when the temperature is down and the ban on fishing will be lifted and the delivery of imported fish from other countries will be normalized,” Majeed mentioned.
Almost 80 percent of fish sold in Kuwaiti markets are imported from Saudi Arabia, Iran, and neighboring countries including Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Thailand and Sri Lanka. Zubaidi, hamour, nueve and meids are some of the variety of fish known to many in Kuwait. Irani and Pakistani subaidi are sold at the same price, while shrimp, which are mostly imported from Saudi Arabia and Egypt, are sold from KD3 to KD5, depending on the size, but during shrimp season the price could decline by 500fils per kilo.
Majeed admitted that another reason for the shortage of fish supplies and the reason why fish prices are expensive was that many of the expat fishermen were on their annual vacation to their home countries. There are currently no Kuwaiti fishermen. Fish caught in Kuwaiti waters account for 20 percent of the Kuwaiti market, with the remaining being imported from neighboring countries.
In recent years there have been press reports that PAAAAFR has been planning a two-year ban on fishing in Kuwaiti waters. Some fishermen in Kuwait oppose this plan, though the majority do not, but demand ‘full compensation’ if it pursued. A group of fishermen supported by the Fisherman’s Union staged a protest against PAAAFR in recent years, who ordered a ban in fishing in certain zones and banning the use of nylon nets.
PAAAFR explained at that time that their ban on nylon nets was in compliance with an agreement signed by all GCCC countries for ecological purposes. Kuwait’s Fisherman Union argued that the proposed replacement of nylon nets with cotton nets would cause them to work with weaker nets that are unsuitable for commercial fishing.
The Fishermen’s Union further claimed that none of the GCC countries who are signatories to the nylon net ban are enforcing the ban. And despite the protest by the Fishermen’s Union, the ban was strictly implemented and many fishermen who caught fish in violation of the ‘nylon net’ ban and ‘zone fishing’ regulations were reportedly subjected to investigation and some even deported.
By Ben Garcia, Staff Writer
Read by 1778