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Traders at the Abu Dhabi fish market in Mina Zayed. Since no gargoors are allowed, fishermen are now using speed boats and using rods to fish. Image Credit: Anwar Ahmad/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Rising temperatures and restrictions on the use of gargour fishing nets have led to a reduced catch from fishermen in Abu Dhabi, resulting in a price hike in the capital’s fish markets of around 20 per cent, according to local traders.

At present, only small fishing boats are permitted to go deep into Abu Dhabi waters. The fishermen can only fish with rods, whereas big dhows are not permitted anymore, under the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment measures to protect marine habitat.

The catch restrictions have impacted the volume of fresh fish coming into Abu Dhabi markets from local waters.

The quantity has significantly dropped now that anglers are only permitted to go by speedboat to fish, said local fishermen at Zayed Port.

Hamour which used to cost Dh45 per kilo two months ago is now trading at Dh55 and Dh60 per kilo and large shrimps that used to be Dh65 per kilo three months ago are now Dh75 a kilo.

Dh60/kg

price of hamour, up from Dh45 two months ago

Mohammad Asif, a trader at Abu Dhabi market in Mina Zayed, told Gulf News, “Since no gargour are allowed, fishermen are now going by speed boats and bringing only a small amount of fish back. A large chunk of fish are instead coming from Dubai.

“We now get fish from Dubai and the amount of fish in the market has reduced. This practice has affected the price of a number of popular varieties of fish like hamour and shrimps,” he said.

Other species like kingfish and sherry remain unaffected and are being traded at the same price of Dh40-Dh45 per kilo and Dh30 per kilo respectively, while Pomfret is still sold at Dh30-Dh35 per kilo, said Asif.

An Emirati consumer who turned up to buy fish, said, “The fish market in Abu Dhabi is the most expensive compared to Dubai and other emirates. I bought kingfish at Dh45 a kilo. Even similar fish can be bought at cheaper rates in other emirates.

“Fish prices nowadays are a little bit higher,” he added.

Dh75/kg

price of large shrimps, up from Dh65 three months ago

“In Abu Dhabi it depends on the catch, if the catch is good, fish prices will go down, but summers are fish breeding times and they are protected.

“During hotter days fish also swim into deeper waters, which makes catching them even more difficult, so these factors have led to a fish price rise here,” said the Emirati consumer.

“In some supermarkets, they sell kingfish at higher rates reaching up to Dh60 a kilo, he added.

Mohammad Sobhi, another trader at the market, said, “Nowadays, fish prices are higher than three months back because now we are dependent on Dubai’s traders, we get it from them.

“Now we can say that the prices may have gone up to 20 per cent,” he said, adding that the prices haven’t shot up higher due to the Abu Dhabi Fishermen’s Cooperative, which monitors and controls market prices.