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Mohammad Ashraf, fish trader. Pictureby Anwar Ahmad Image Credit:

Abu Dhabi: Fish prices have significantly dropped in Abu Dhabi, with rates expected to go further down as the winter progresses, fish traders in the Abu Dhabi Fish Market at Mina Zayed in the capital have said..

They said as current prices have seen a decrease of up to Dh30 per kilogram on a wide variety of fish in the market. Hamour, the most popular fish, can be bought for as little as Dh35 a kg, down from around Dh60 a kg a couple of months ago.

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Fish traders said the winter season is the best for fish catch as a result of which fish prices drop. Since the catch is improving with every passing day, the prices are expected to slide down further.

Speaking to Gulf News, Mohammad Ashraf, a fish trader from India at the Mina fish market, said, “Nowadays, fish are available in abundance due to good weather. One month back, Hamour prices had touched Dh70 a kg, but now the medium sized Hamour from is going for just Dh35 a kg, while those sourced from Abu Dhabi are being sold at Dh50 a kg. Some are even selling it for Dh40.”

Ashraf, who has been in the business for 25 years, admits the traders are always open to bargains as customers invariably want prices slashed further.

Traders said other varieties like Sherry (Big) are going for Dh25 a kg, Seabream Dh30, Kingfish (Small) Dh20, Kingfish (Big) Dh35 , Jesh Dh20, Taqwa Dh25 and Shark Dh20 a kg.

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Faisal, fish trader at Mina. Pictures by Anwar Ahmad

Whereas Black Pomfret is priced between Dh25 for a kilogram, prawns (big) cost Dh70- 80 a kg, with medium sized shrimps pegged at Dh40 and small at Dh30-35 a kg. The rate for lobsters is Dh90 a kg, down from Dh100-120 a few months back.

Ashraf said, “Prices across the range of fish varieties have registered a Dh10-30 drop per kg.”

Summer vs winter trends

Another fish trader Faisal, who has been in the market for eight years, , said, “In the hotter months, fish swim deeper inside the ocean as the water is hot near the surface, so it becomes difficult to get a good catch during summer. When the weather cools down, there is plenty of fish closer to the surface.”

The traders said fishermen go out in small fishing boats in the early morning and return with their catch the same day, uunlike earlier when fishing dhows use to spend a few days inside the sea. Nowadays, only small boats are permitted for fishing at the Mina fishing harbour, while big dhows are restricted to Musaffah on the outskirts of the capital.

The traders said despite the big dhows being banned in the Mina area, there is no shortage of fish in the market because the catch is good during the winter.

An Emirati fish buyer at Mina fish market Ali Abdullah said, “Fish prices are attractive nowadays and all varieties are available. This is a great time to eat fish.”

He said, “I bought five kg of hamour and got them barbecued at the market itself as there is a good line up of outlets that fry, steam or barbecue fish.” Customers can be seen buying fresh fish and handing them over to these shops to prepare dishes of their choice.

Another consumer from Egypt, Ahmad Mahmoud, said, “It is so convenient here as you can not only buy fish or prawns but also get them cooked. The shops prepare them in no time as per our requirement, add the right kind of spices – it’s like home cooked stuff itself.”

Prices at a glance

Humour: Dh35-50 a kg

Sherry (Big): Dh25 a kg

Seabream: Dh30/kg

Kingfish (Small) Dh20/kg

Kingfish: (Big) Dh35/kg

Jesh: Dh20/kg

Taqwa: Dh25/kg

Shark Dh20/kg

Black Pomfret: Dh25/kg

Prawns (Big): Dh70-80/kg

Prawns (Small): Dh30-35/kg

Lobsters: Dh90/kg