Cold weather dwindles fish catch in Umluj

Cold weather dwindles fish catch in Umluj
Updated 20 January 2015

Cold weather dwindles fish catch in Umluj

Cold weather dwindles fish catch in Umluj

The cold front that hit Umluj recently, made fish products scarce in the city’s central fish market, raising prices by 100 percent. Dealers in the local fish market received 14 tons of fish daily before, but now quantities have decreased to two tons only.
The cold weather affects fishermen and fish, which go to the deep waters to stay away from the cold, said Sheikh Amin Sanousi Abu Baker, a fisherman.
Quantities are very small because the cold weather drives fish to migrate, leaving only a few types like “shaoor” and “naajil.”
Abdullah Al-Johani, a trawler, pointed out how difficult it is becoming for fishermen to make a living in such harsh weather conditions. “I caught very little today, the production is low because of the cold and prices are high, but we also suffer from the competition of expatriates,” he said.
Salman Saleem Al-Hamdi, a retired fisherman who claimed to come to the market on a daily basis, argued that the current situation doesn’t reflect the status of Umluj as a coastal city, known for its abundant fish production. “It ranks after Jazan in fish catch. However, because of the absence of control regarding fishing practices of expats, Saudis don’t stand a chance,” Al-Hamdi commented.
Though authorities decided to stop expatriates from buying and selling fish without control, they haven’t been implemented yet, Al-Hamdi said. He called on relevant authorities, such as labor offices, to stop unfair fishing trades that bring about unfair competition.
Ibrahim Zaki Al-Harbi, another fisherman, confirms that problems in the fish market lie in the expatriate control over it, which caused a sharp increase in prices. He added that workers of bakeries and shops trade with fish in cooperation with other expatriates who come from Madinah and export large fish quantities from Umluj. Some fishing boats load their catch directly to vehicles to sell the merchandise in Madinah for higher prices. Al-Harbi explained that a car driver who goes to Madinah phones workers in Umluj and tells them about prices in the city, which leads to higher prices in Umluj.
Naji Ahmad Al-Marwani, head of the municipal council in Umluj, said a number of decisions have been taken to organize the fish market with regard to prices and retail for those who wish to buy small amounts. “We hope the Ministry of Commerce and Industry will be able to control prices so that the climate will not contribute to create a monopoly,” Al-Marwani said.