Muscat: Fish prices have shot up by close to 20 to 30 per cent because of the rough seas caused by cyclone Nanauk, says fishermen.
"I have not gone fishing in the deep seas since last week after the news about the cyclone poured in," said Nirmal Kr Das, a Bangladeshi fisherman from Masirah Island. "My employer advised me to be safe and catch fish in shallow waters closer to the land."
Das said that he could only catch small fish and crabs in the shallow waters. "For the bigger fish, I would have to go to where the waters are deep but my company and crew were not willing to go further."
Supply of fish has dwindled this week as fewer fishermen are venturing into the sea. "This is the reason why the fish prices at Muttrah market too have shot up," a fisherman at the Muttrah municipal fish market, Abdul Al Shaqsi, said.
OMR5 per kg
Before the news about the cyclone came in, one kilo of kingfish cost anywhere between OMR3 and OMR4, depending on the size, but the price has now crossed OMR5. Similarly, the price of tuna, which was OMR2 per kilo, has risen to OMR3.
Fish like Doversole – which was selling at OMR1.4, is now selling at OMR2. "Similarly, the price of middle sized shrimp, which was between OMR2 and OMR3, has touched more than OMR5 a kilo. The same is the case with other fish like mackerel, sardine, red snapper and barcoda.
The supply is less so we have increased the supply of fish from India," the duty manager of a shopping mall said.
Normally, nearly 40 to 50 tonnes of fish are supplied to Muttrah every day from Salalah, Seeb and other places. Now, the supply has dwindled to less than 30 to 50 tonnes, according to fish sellers.
Anuj Singh, a resident of Qurum who buys fish from Muttrah, said, "My family and I have been buying fish from the Muttrah market for years. The prices have skyrocketed and four mackerels now cost OMR1.5, while earlier we could buy eight for the same amount."
Besides cyclone, heat is another issue. "Young fishermen are not willing to venture out to the sea as it is too hot. And those who do, prefer fishing close to the shore at places like Quriyat, Azaiba, Sifah, Ghubra and Seeb," he added.