No visas for new fishermen

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KUWAIT CITY, July 29: The Kuwait Fishermen Union (KFU) held a press conference to present the challenges facing the fishing profession that cause the scarcity of the local product and its absence from the market, reports Al-Anba daily. Head of the union Dhaher Al-Soyyan affirmed that the shrimp fishing permits were reduced due to the absence of more than 80 fishermen, and the fishing boats that currently fish do so with almost half of their manpower.

The meeting in progress

He said, “We submitted requests for entry visas but failed to receive a response”. The role of the union is to provide food security from marine products in the Sharq and Fahaheel markets, but we need appropriate support. We demand an increase in fish subsidies, which have not increased in 30 years, similar to other productive sectors. What is happening makes the fishing profession repulsive and unattractive even to those with fishing licenses who are burdened with debts and become threatened all the time. Many owners of fishing licenses want to leave the profession. What is happening is heavier on the shoulders of the fisherman”.

Al-Soyyan stressed the importance of meeting the demands of fishermen and working to eliminate all challenges, the first of which is restoring the share of diesel and gasoline to what it was before the recent decision to reduce the share to half of the subsidy committee issued in the month of May 2023, especially since the current quota ended more than a week before the end of the month. He indicated that there are fishing boats that have so far not been fueled with diesel, with the start of the shrimp fishing season in the regional waters on Tuesday, August 1.

Al-Soyyan addressed the issue of labor shortage, insisting that issuance of entry visas have not been opened so far. He said the labor shortage has actually led to the suspension of some fishing boats, while others have a shortage of labor force. Al-Soyyan called for maintaining the price balance and promoting the local product, affirming the importance of approving the fishing of Cod (meed) fish in Kuwait Bay according to the controls and conditions set by the Environment Public Authority (EPA) and the fisheries sector of the Public Authority for Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources (PAAAFR), especially since it is allowed to fish in the bay for other fish. Concerning the high prices of fish, he said, “Fishermen are usually accused of hiking the prices, but the same accusations were not leveled against the importer despite the high prices. Fishing process is laborious.

The cost of the fishing trip, the lack of support, the lack of fish, the length of the trip, the lack of labor, and the stopping of many fishing boats are other obstacles. We support the preservation of fish wealth and the organization of the fishing process, but at the same time we demand the removal of the challenges facing the fishing sector.” Regarding the high prices of Cod, Al- Soyyan said, “A decision was issued by the EPA to ban fishing inside Kuwait Bay almost five years ago. We sent many letters to allow Cod fishing only in the bay, but we are yet to be granted the green light.”

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