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Tuesday , October 26 2021

Fish market closure unfair, grant permits for license holders

‘Citizens express dissatisfaction with lack of fresh Kuwaiti fish’

KUWAIT CITY, May 17: Chairman of Kuwait Fishermen Association Zahir Al-Suwaiyan stressed the need to allow fishing activities to ensure availability of Kuwaiti fish in various markets, reports Al-Seyassah daily.

He expressed his surprise that the vegetable markets have been opened but the fish market has been ignored “as though the coronavirus is in only the fish market”. Al-Suwaiyan said, “Citizens have expressed their dissatisfaction with the lack of fresh Kuwaiti fish and we add our voice to their voice; so we ask why a double standard? One of the fish importing companies refused to drop their prices and preferred to throw the fish in the trash so that the prices do not decrease. It would have been better if these fish were distributed free of charge to the poor under the current difficult circumstances or donated to charities.

Some people peddle rumors that the fish market is open to Kuwaiti consumers. Unfortunately, this is not true, because the fish markets are closed. It seems as though the fresh local fish produce is the target, while the suppliers of imported fish have contracts with the central markets and restaurants. This amounts to a plan to eliminate the local fish produce.

It is unfortunate that nobody is ready to hear our voice because we are not suppliers; we are only fishermen. We want to ask the minister of health – For how long will the fish markets remain closed to consumers? Closure of the fish market continues to overburden the pockets of consumers and deprive them of eating local fish.

The fishermen association continues to demand the concerned authorities to open the fish market in Sharq and Fahaheel, but nobody listens. Al-Suwaiyan asked Ministry of Interior to issue permits to protect fishing license holders and follow-up and inspect fishing boats and vessels, stressing the need to grant them the required workers. He lamented that he does not know how long the holders of fishing licenses will continue to suffer while the challenges in front of them arise.

Al-Suwaiyan stressed the importance of standing with the fishing sector and overcoming the obstacles it faces until it recovers and can come back like before. He expressed hope that the deputy prime minister and minister of interior as well as the under undersecretary of Ministry of Interior will grant fishermen the permits, just like the rest of the sectors concerned with food security. Al-Suwaiyan denied reports that the cost of imported Iranian zubaidi fish has fallen to KD 3 per kilogram. He highlighted that there is no market that sells at these prices and all such reports are just false propaganda, adding that the price of imported zubaidi was determined by Ministry of Commerce and Industry at KD 5 for small sized fish and KD 9 for large sized fish.

He stressed that there is no local fish in the markets currently because of the closure of fish markets and the ban on fishing in the territorial waters since the first of March, as well as the suspension of boats and vessels due to the total lockdown, lamenting that the fishing sector is experiencing an unprecedented crisis.

Al-Suwaiyan said, “There are those who come out to the media claiming the collapse of fish prices but Ministry of Commerce and Industry has set the prices of local and imported fish and there is full commitment to that. The association was bombarded with a lot of calls because of the reports claiming that the cost of one kilogram of imported zubaidi is KD 3. Whoever said that should indicate the place where the fish are being sold at these prices, if it is true, despite our certainty that it is unrealistic and completely untrue. He affirmed that the fishermen are ready to resume fishing activities when the total lockdown period ends

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