Are fish at risk?

Muna Al-Fuzai

Fish is a popular food for many people in Kuwait. The fish market is often crowded at all times, so any news about fish creates a stir and becomes a matter of concern. Recently, a woman posted a video of fish bought from the local market, but when she gutted them for cleaning, she found a number of nails had been placed inside them to add weight! The ministry of commerce and industry responded to the video and launched an inspection campaign to make sure all fish are safe. It also arrested the fishmonger and charged him with commercial fraud.

This incident may seem strange, but the reality is that warnings about tampering with fish are not new. For years, there have been calls to seriously consider the status of fish, including the unjustified rise in fish prices in a seafaring country like Kuwait.

The head of the Kuwaiti fishermen’s union has expressed on several occasions his concern about the status of Kuwait’s fish wealth, especially since it is a very popular food, and the limited fishing area is reflected on the quality and prices of fish in the local market. The official explained some of the reasons for the continued rise in fish prices, including an increase in the population and the high demand by people to buy all types of fish. He urged the government to move towards enhancing food security and protecting local production.

I believe preserving fish wealth is part of the provision and protection of food security.The fishing sector is important and needs guarantees to play its role. I am not an expert, but it is apparent that fish is not cheap, so a number of middle- and limited-income people are reluctant to buy fish. This situation encouraged the fisherman to commit commercial fraud by planting iron nails inside the fish to raise its price. Thanks to this lady for uploading a video of this crime as a warning, otherwise this illegal action wouldn’t have been caught or stopped.

I believe the high prices have forced some people to buy imported frozen fish, which is sold in the form of fillets and is very widespread in markets. But the problem of frozen fish is the emergence of scattered reports that it is dangerous or unsafe, so many people hesitate to buy it out of fear, and prefer to buy fresh fish. I think mixing fresh and frozen fish or selling imported fish as local and fresh needs inspection. MoCI needs to keep an eye on all fish that are being offered to the public in all markets. This manipulation in the quality and prices of fish comes at the expense of consumers. I believe in the need of intervention by PAAAFR and the ministry of commerce to control prices for the safety of people and their health.

By Muna Al-Fuzai
Muna@kuwaittimes.ne

This article was published on 28/07/2018