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Apr 13, 2017

What’s Behind Rising Fish Prices at Easter Time

Ten dollars a pound! If your jaw dropped when you heard that price for retail of whole fish this Holy Week, be assured, ours did too. In fact, unconfirmed reports in some quarters suggested that fish were going for as much as fourteen dollars a pound. Nonetheless, eating fish on Good Friday is one of the traditions of Easter, right up there with hot cross buns, Cross Country cycling and relaxing on the beach. And that’s why Belizeans have been out across the City on Wednesday afternoon and into Holy Thursday morning looking for the best deals for the dinner table. News Five’s Aaron Humes has hit the hot spots as well over the last two days and tells us that there are deals to be had – you just have to know where to look.

 

Aaron Humes, Reporting

If you just had to have your fish for Easter – snapper, grouper, jack; any kind, any size, cleaned, filleted, however you like it – it could be found all across the Old Capital on this Holy Thursday. Our trek, however, actually started at Belize City’s ground zero for fish sales – the Conch Shell Bay Fish Market, where reception was poor to say the least. However, we did manage to find a vendor willing to speak, though off-camera, about why the annual price gouging related to fish hurts buyer and seller alike.

 

Voice of: Fish Vendor

“The barrow dah seven dollars a pound; and all the snappers are eight dollars a pound. You pick what you want.”

 

Reporter

“Now we understand that some are selling for as much as ten, and that, I think, is the highest it’s ever been; explain why you are selling at a lower price.”

 

Voice of: Fish Vendor

“The reason – we try be consistent with all a we customers throughout the year. We sell fish for one price; we noh raise we fish because a Easter. Other people do and I noh see how it quite profit them. All I could say is that the money the raise the fish for noh wah put them to no good use.”

 

Reporter

“But at the same time, you do understand – as you said, you’re a former fisherman yourself; these people go out and slave in the sun every day to get this fish.”

 

Voice of: Fish Vendor

“But you also have to be reasonable with the customers too; noh because a Lent or because of Easter you have to charge them ten dollars; you have to be reasonable too.”

 

This morning, we set out in search of those deals. Our first stop was a roadside stall on Mahogany Street, where a fisherman known variously as “Blue Boy” and “Blue’s Clues” offered the fresh catch of the day at much more reasonable prices. As customers congregated, it was clear he expected to clean up big.

 

“Blue Boy”

“Blue Boy”, Fisherman

“Dah crunch time, but we still deh pan the grind fi the same price, everything nice. (Laughs)”

 

Reporter

“Talk to us about your prices because we hear other fishermen are jacking up the price to ten, we even hear fourteen in some cases.”

 

“Blue Boy”

“We no worry bout rest a fisherman, ‘cause we got wi own plan; fi stick to the same price, mek we got all the customer dah Mahogany Street.”

 

Those prices ranged from three to seven dollars. Across town on the Newtown Barracks, Dixson Williams and his comrades were awaiting the catch of the day to come in, as their stock had only just sold out when we arrived. He tells us that after many years, the point is that the customer is always right.

 

Dixson Williams

Dixson Williams, Fisherman/Vendor

“Outa Barracks you always get yu fish fresh.”

 

Reporter

“I notice the boat just came in a while ago.”

 

Dixson Williams

“Yes. Everything fresh out here, nothing weh deh pan ice fi three, four days; everything fresh out da Barracks. We cater for our people over on this side here; and that’s why when we cater for our people and they come and buy – da everyday people, because it noh mek sense fi pressure poor people; even if you have money, wi no pressure nobody.”

 

Reporter

“So the sales have been good?”

 

Dixson Williams

“The sales will be good and continue [to] be good; because we cater fi any and everybody; and we always try mek sure – if you wah ten pound a fish, and we only got ten pound; we try share the fish fi mek sure everybody get.”

 

We hope you’ll get your fish, and enjoy. Aaron Humes reporting for News Five.

 

Those fishermen we spoke with said they would be out throughout this Holy Thursday at their various outlets until the last fish is sold.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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