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Things bad for fish vendors

Yvette Best

Things bad for fish vendors

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THINGS DEAD as a graveyard, it is not good.That assessment from a vendor in Speightstown, St Peter, summed up business for fish vendors as the Easter weekend draws near.
A WEEKEND NATION team visited markets at Weston, St James, Speightstown, and Moon Town, St Lucy, as well as the Bridgetown Fisheries Complex yesterday, and there was little or no activity in any of them.Keely Gibbons, who plies her trade at the Weston Market, was optimistic that things would pick up later in the day or today as people looked to get their traditional Good Friday and Easter weekend supply.
Her colleague Benedict Holder was not so hopeful. He said fishermen raised their prices around Monday and the going rate was currently ten flying fish for $12, dolphin and kingfish $6 per pound cut and 50 cents more for a whole one, and $7 per pound for swordfish. “Things slow, if they ain’t pick up by now, they ain’t gine pick up at all, [and] not a lot of fish catching,” he said.
Holder said he was not sure if the slow sales were an indication of the tough economic times, but he said people were buying what they need now, “not what they want, dem days of spending money wild gone”.
The buzz of the cutting machine and fully stocked display freezers told the tale at the Speightstown Market. Not a lot of vendors were in sight either.
There was absolutely nothing going on in Moon Town. Not a fish was in sight, but a few fishermen and friends were sitting around chatting and enjoying some local spirits.
Fisherman Jon Anthony Husbands preferred to describe the current situation as “brown”.
“[We] expect things to be slow around Easter. Fish out there, but they are not spawning. This is just a period that we are going through, there is nothing that can be done,” Husbands explained.
He added that just like anything else, the fisherfolk had hit a hard spot. He said it was a “knot” they had to get past and that fishermen needed to understand and accept that. Husbands figured that the ocean was currently replenishing itself and expected things to improve by way of catches and prices in another two weeks or so.
When asked how fishermen and vendors survived this rough patch, Husbands said simply: “When things plenty yuh save something for this particular day.”
Some of the fish processing companies have been running advertisements in the newspapers for sales on the same types of fish available in the markets and other varities of fish and seafood.