By Saikou Suwareh Jabai
Fishers have explained that the high retail prices of fresh fish in the market now is due to the weather conditions which is causing the low catch which they experience out at sea.
Women are nowadays complaining about the high cost of fish to the average families which prompted this reporter to visit the fish landing site at Tanji over the weekend to find out what is responsible for this development that is affecting many households in the urban and peri urban areas.
While at the landing site it was discovered that the only types of fish that were available at the time are what they locally call ‘Yaboye’ and ‘Maroc’ which the women fishmongers buy from the fishers at D400 and D450 per basin respectively.
According to the women, they will be selling the fish at a retail price of three pieces of ‘Yaboye’ at D5 and four pieces of ‘Maroc’ at D20.
It was also observed that there were no ‘white fish’ available as fresh catch at the time. The ones that were available were the catch from the previous day and were being sold at seven pieces for D100.
Mariama Fatty, a woman fishmonger who sells at Serekunda Market, said they do not have much fish to sell nowadays due to the low catch at sea and which causes the price hike. “Fish business is always like this. It is unpredictable. When we buy the fish at a high price and pay transport we include all these expenses in the retail price,” she explained.
The other women fish mongers who spoke to this reporter confirmed the low catch and the inevitable increase in the retail price of fish in the market.
Sheikh Fall, a fisherfolk whose boat landed that morning, said they did not get enough fish due to the condition of the weather which was blowing heavy winds at sea that makes it difficult to cast their nets. “When the weather is like this it is very difficult for us to catch what is called ‘white fish’,” he revealed.
On the challenges they confront in their work, the fishing boat captain said apart from the vagaries of the weather they also contend with high taxes levied on them. He appealed for a reduction of the tax on the artisanal fishers.
He, however, thanked the government for lowering the price of fuel but urged for more reduction just like in neighbouring Senegal to enable them to make reasonable profit in the fish trade.