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Apr 21, 2011

Price of fish at the market goes up

This Good Friday, fish will be the preferred dish on many tables among Catholic families. It is a tradition that is related to the day when Catholics typically abstain from meat. Fish was once affordable, but when we made our rounds this morning, it is prohibitively high. In fact, the pound of fish at Conch Shell Bay is more than the regular price of lobster. But what’s taking up the price? The fisher folks say the answer is in the exorbitant price of fuel. News Five’s Isani Cayetano was on hand at the fish market this morning.

Isani Caytetano, Reporting

The convergence of fishermen, aquatic birds and seafood lovers on Conch Shell Bay on Holy Thursday is a spectacle that never fails to amaze.  Amidst the heavy traffic on nearby Vernon Street is the familiar din of a buzzing marketplace.  On one side pelicans wander slowly and aimlessly along East Canal; on the other vendors engage potential buyers in their routine sales pitch.

Alfred Ramirez

Alfred Ramirez, Fish Vendor

“The fish dehn dah eight dollars right now.  Right now gas expensive, yo goh out deh yo wah pay nine dollars, eight dollars, five dollars, six dollars.  Gas dah twelve dollars a gallon yo check.  Now I dah only di clean man ah cyant sell right now cause farm me usually buy and sell.  Ah cyant sell because a di way di price dehn di go.  So right now as yo notice ah di slice up dis barrow ya and di try hurry dis fi geh wah next job.”

Lennox Lino is one of few seafarers out here today.  On display is a fresh catch of snappers, jacks and several other exotic fish lined across the bow of his vessel.  It’s been a long morning for the seasoned fisherman, one that saw him heading out to sea in the wee hours.

Lennox Lino

Lennox Lino, Fisherman

“Normally we woulda just go out and ting a couple days and like right now fi dis Easter we just di try do wah lee ting.  Right now we di sell fi like six or seven dollars a pound fuh di jack and ting right now yoh dig.”

While the price per pound of fish varies, consumers like Patrick Thompson have noticed a considerable spike this year as opposed to previous years he has bought fish here at Conch Shell Bay.

Patrick Thompson, Customer

Patrick Thompson

“Hearing from different people, you know, I hear it is very much expensive and that is, the fishermen are saying, due to the raise [in the price] of fuel as well you know, so you know if the fuel raise the fishermen they have to raise their prices too, noh.”

What is apparent is that there is cause and effect between the ever-increasing costs of fuel and the price per pound of fish.  As it is their pockets are severely hurting in the wake of the most recent price hike.  But it’s a system of economics Lino has had to come to terms with.  All the more difficult is that he, like his many friends in the fisheries industry, is having a hard time reeling in a decent catch.

Lennox Lino

“Ih really difficult right now cause di breeze and ting ahn like all di fish dehn noh really wahn eat and ting so yoh haffi really deh bout di look fih dehn and ting and di bait and ting haad fih find to so ih just scarce right now and ting like that.”

Alfred Ramirez

“Right now ih very, very difficult because yoh cyant go fishing weh yoh want due to di tourist season, tourist season weh dih een.  [Wid] tourist yoh cyant go weh yoh wahn.  So you go fishing weh paat di fish dehn di bite wid Maritime Wings or whatever yoh call dehn wah come pan yoh.  Yoh cyant fishing there because it’s a protected area you know and that da weh di hambug we right now so wih noh di get di amount a fish weh wi wahn.”

Despite the scarcity of a generous catch a few fishermen, like my good friend Roy, were out boasting their haul.  In his hand is a sizeable king fish, on the other end of the boat’s bow is a medium sized barracuda.

Patrick Thompson

“Honestly, some of the fish that I am seeing out here this morning they are very small, you know.  To get the nice, average size fish you have to come out much earlier in the morning to get the size fish weh yoh woulda want.  If yoh wait until now or later this evening the size might just get smaller.”

For those who were not able to beat today’s rush the fishermen who vend at the foot of the Vernon Street Bridge say they will be on hand tomorrow morning only. Reporting for News five, I am Isani Cayetano.

When we checked this afternoon, the market was abuzz with consumers doing their last minute purchases of the fish to be had on Good Friday.

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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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8 Responses for “Price of fish at the market goes up”

  1. Earl Grey says:

    PRICE GOUGING … if you ask me………………

  2. RedBwai says:

    Hmmm…these fish mongers and fishermen are blaming the price hike on higher fuel prices…and that may be true but what seems ever so strange is whenever Easter time rolls around the price per pound of fish skyrockets to double or tripple the regular price. Hmmm…..sounds fishy doesnt it? This story stinks of price gouging to me and all they all know it..they jus wont ever say it. It’s a supply and demand world we living in and the demand is surely up so why not raise the price??? Im pretty sure there isnt a shortage of fish in Belize around this time of year infact its on the contrary. Imagine all year round you pay a certain price for a pound of turkey…jus to hear when christman rolls around that the price per pound has doubled or tripple because of pure greed….lets just wait and see how long they can maintain that $8 per pound price when the Easter is over and throughout the rest of the year….

  3. mylegacyb4mypeople says:

    So what about sail boat need no fuel back in the days it was mainly sail boats that go out and get the fish, true it takes longer to get out there but then imagine how much you will save on fuel should allow you to compete much better with those that have the gas gozzlers. Remember, My legacy B 4 My People.

  4. Disgusted! says:

    Nobody can stop the Chinese, Middle Easterners and other business moguls when they raise the price of their products, we B$#ch about it but we still patronize them so let the po fisherfolks eat cake for a day. If the price don’t suit you, don’t buy it then you won’t have anything to complain about.

  5. 2 cents says:

    Why do we eat fish on good Friday?
    Mark 7:8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.” Read you bible peoples.

  6. OW Resident says:

    Fishing is hard work.. the price of fish in Belize has remained stable despite the high prices of fuel. Fishers as the rest of us have the right to sell what is theirs at a price the see fit. If you want to eat fish go fish or pay the price. At brodies and Sav U the price are high all year round an no one complains. And there is a shortage of Fish in Belize every year during easter.

  7. my 2cents says:

    I totally agree with Disgusted and OW Resident, its not like they do it all the time and if you look at the oil situation,America and other countries wait for one little thing to go wrong “like the BP oil spill” for them to raise the price of gas when they know fully well that it is not necessary. i thought for a while now that these guys were selling their fish too cheap.There is nowhere in America where you can find fish for the price that they are selling it for.their prices are rediculosly high that i probably buy fish maybe twice per year.i refuse to pay those prices that they are charging people.Belizeans really don’t know how good they have it.

  8. RedBwai says:

    It’s price gouging! plain and simple…no excuse for it except pure greed. They taking advantage of the holy easter season to put a killing on poor people’s pockets with higher prices. Besides, its the only time of the year when the consumption of fish is at its highest…and no there is no shortage of fish in the sea or rivers or where ever…fish is abundant here in Belize. So if they were selling for say $3 or $4 a pound during the entire year…then please give me one good reason to justify the drastic price hike. There is no need to chance poor people like that…for some its the only time of the year when they can afford themselves the pleasure of eating a piece of fish.
    Well im not as well off as OW Resident who can afford to shop at high priced SaveU and Brodies nor am i in the states like my 2cents…like the saying goes … who feels it knows it …and you two are definitely not feeling it….

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