Longtime fish vendor Wendy Popo said during the weekend leading up to Christmas there was a shortage in fish. (Picture by Reco Moore.)
There are plenty of fish in the deep blue sea, but this year some Bajan fishermen had difficulty catching them.
This was the consensus yesterday at the Bridgetown Fisheries Complex as vendors and deep sea fishermen reflected on the last 12 months, in which their catches paled in comparison to previous years.
“Round this time of the year, the market usually got fish but right now the fish just ain’t there,” said fisherman Mark Yearwood.
“We could live with the price range but the problem is catching the fish. The problem is that there is nowhere to go for them. With the seaweed and all that’s going on, it’s a little tight,”
Two other fisherfolk, P. Mason and Augustine Forde, blamed their misfortunes on climate change.
“One boat used to bring in between 36 [deep sea fish] and 45, and in that range. Right now, we have boats coming in and only catching four tuna, right now,” said boat owner and salesman Forde.
He said the storms of the hurricane season appeared as though they “run” the fish elsewhere.
The vendors confirmed that marlin, swordfish, tuna and dolphin were in short supply and over the Christmas season shoppers were shelling out about $150 for 100 flying fish and $20 for a pack of ten.
They said dolphin was sold for $10 to $15 a pound, swordfish $8 and marlin between $6 and $7 a pound – prices reflective of the high fishing costs.
“By the fish is scarce and hardly coming, the fisherman take up the price,” said Forde.
“If you spend $20 000 on diesel, ice, and bait then you’ll try to get back a quota of that money. You can’t sell it at the same price you were selling it at before.
“But we are hoping things will get better for 2018 and we could give [a better price],” he added.
Longtime vendors Jemma “Margaret” Harris and Wendy Popo lamented the decline in numbers over the years.
“Back in the 1990s when people were looking for pork and ham, you used to find more but more recently people looking for more fish,” Harris said.
Popo added: “We used to have plenty fish that people could buy, but this Christmas we didn’t have any because we ran out of fish round the weekend.” (TG )