ALOR SETAR: The supply of fish, especially ikan kembung, has dwindled in the past few weeks because fishermen have been forced to stay ashore due to strong winds and rough seas.
Fishmonger R. Mahadevan, 38, said the wholesale price of ikan kembung had increased from between RM3 and RM6 per kilo to between RM7 and RM9 per kilo.
“I have no choice but to sell them at the retail price of RM12 per kilo.
“The weather is preventing small fishing boats from going out,” he said at the Market Besar PJ II in Jitra yesterday.
Mahadevan, who has been selling fish for the past 10 years, said dozens of fishmongers had been forced to close their stalls due to the shortage.
“Previously, I could easily get 300kg of ikan kembung daily at the wholesale market here.
“Now, I only manage to get about 150kg at a wholesale price of RM7 per kilo.
“Fish from Kuala Perlis and Kuala Kedah are also selling at RM12 per kilo,” he said, adding that the price hike could continue until after Chinese New Year.
Another fishmonger Saiful Rizal Nordin, 25, said he could usually get 300kg of ikan kembung from his wholesaler in Kuala Kedah.
“I will be there as early as 4am to bid for the fishes but on Friday, I only managed to get 90kg.
“Previously, the price of small ikan kembung was between RM3 and RM4 per kilo but now, it has increased to RM7. The big ones now cost RM9 per kilo.
“A few weeks ago, I could buy two barrels of fish for RM1,000. Now, I can only buy a barrel,” he said, adding that a barrel contains some 120kg of fish.
“A barrel of small ikan kembung used to cost about RM480. Now, it’s selling at RM840.”
Fishmonger Suhaimi Kamaruddin, 50, said he was not sure of the reason behind the price hike.
“On a normal day, I could sell the fish at RM9 or RM10 per kilo.
“However, this morning I had to sell the fish at RM12 per kilo,” he said.