Lack of issuing permits hikes price of cod fish

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KUWAIT CITY, July 6: During the last two days, the fish market in Sharq witnessed an unprecedented hike in the price of cod fish, the fishing season of which began at the beginning of this month. This is because the quantity caught is so less that the market is devoid of them, which pushed its price to an unbelievable level that baffl ed the consumers, reports Al-Rai daily. Previously, this type of fish used to be sold at KD 1 for six kilograms but today the price has flipped to KD 6 per kilogram due to its scarcity, amidst the astonishment of the market goers who visited the market yesterday morning to buy the “scarce” cod fish only to be surprised by its absence and the high price. This resulted in great discontent among the consumers over this outrageous price hike.

When asked about the reasons for this phenomenon, Head of the Kuwait Fishermen Union Dhaher Al-Soyyan attributed the matter to the delay of the Public Authority for Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources (PAAAFR) in issuing fishing permits due to the Eid holidays. He said, “The union had earlier applied for 22 fishing licenses, but they were not issued until the end of the working hours yesterday”. The annual permits were no less than 50 fishing permits, but the small number of fishermen and the failure to open the way by the Ministry of Interior to issue entry visas for them have contributed to the reduced level of fishing, despite the many appeals that were submitted to His Highness the Prime Minister and the Minister of Interior. With the closing of the door for issuance of permits for fishermen, and the opening of the field for fishing, the price of a basket of cod fish will reach KD 200 in the coming days.

This is because the areas permitted for fishing do not contain abundant catches, in addition to the piracy that fishermen are exposed to, all of which are factors that make fishermen refrain from fishing.” Regarding the lack of fish supply in the market, Al-Soyyan stressed that, “The authority has not issued any fishing permits, and the small amount of fish that exists is the product of illegal fishing. Most fishermen will sell their catch outside the market due to its high price, as it is sold to restaurants and food companies, all at the expense of the consumers. The solution is to open the way for fishing in Kuwait Bay.”

He called on those concerned to talk to the union for developing an action plan that promotes the fish market and achieves the public interest in providing fish of all kinds at the right price. At the Sharq market on Tuesday, a citizen Abdullatif Al-Hantush affirmed that he was shocked to see the price of one kilo of mead fish reached KD 6, even though the season for fishing has begun. Another citizen Walid Al-Fadhli said, “People have been patiently waiting for the cod season, but who will buy it at this price?” A fact that no one can believe is that earlier, six kilograms of cod fish was sold for KD 1, but now the figures have reversed, and one kilogram of cod fish is being sold at KD 6. Few days ago, the Public Authority for Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources (PAAAFR) had announced that it is permissible to fish for “meed” (cod) in the Kuwaiti territorial waters starting from July until the 30th of November, except in the Kuwait Bay area and the three miles of coasts and around the Kuwaiti islands, reports Aljarida daily.

The Deputy Director-General of Fisheries Mohsen Al-Mutairi told KUNA that the eastern part within the three miles of the coast of Bubiyan Island from Ras Al- Barsha in the south to Ras Al-Qayed in the north is excluded, unless this is contrary to any other decisions. He said fishing is also excluded around the islands of Miskan, Failaka and Awha within an area of three miles from the coast of these islands. Al-Mutairi highlighted the ban on the fishing and trading of cod fish during the off-season. He stressed the need to apply a number of conditions and controls when fishing for cod fish in the excluded areas, including obtaining a seasonal permit to do so from the competent department of the authority.

Al-Mutairi revealed that the fishing period was set to be from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm, adding that the authority has the right to withdraw the fishing permit in the event of any violation. He called on everyone to abide by the regulations and laws, stressing that anyone who violates the provisions of this decision will be subject to the penalties stipulated in Law No. 46/1980 regarding the protection of fish wealth.

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