Fish vendors are praying that sales improve as Easter draws closer because they have experienced a drastic drop in sales.
Fish vendors at the San Fernando and Otaheite Bay Fishing Depots believe consumers are not buying, mainly because they have no money.
Different types and sizes of fish and shrimp were on display on the stalls, but there were just a handful of customers, each looking for the most reasonable price.
Ramcharan “Billy” Partap, who sells fish and shrimp at the Otaheite Bay, said sales were slower than last year. “Fish selling real slow. I say from last year to now maybe about a 50 per cent drop in sales. It real slow.”
He believes the majority of customers cannot afford to buy because they have no money. “I say plenty people get lay off from their work so they don’t have money to spend. So that is what causing that.”
He said they cannot afford to drop the fish price because fish is scarce and fishermen now have to spend a lot of money in fuel. “The fish price not really dropping. Right now the fish hardly holding. The gas price gone up so if it use to cost fishermen $250 in gas to go in the sea now you have to buy $1,000 in gas.
If the sale not there and the fish holding the price will drop, but once the fish not holding the price will be up.”
He said Salmon selling for $20 to $25 a pound, Carite and King fish are going at $30 and $35 per pound while cavalli is sold at $15 a pound. “We might a get ah lil sale for the Easter well, that will be it,” he said.
Dhanraj “Bhagi” Ramkissoon said people were hardly buying fish because the country is in a crisis. “People don’t really have money in the country. Sales slow but we hoping and praying that it pick up for Easter. One, one carite selling, once it cheap they buying,” he added.
As a result, he said sometimes they have to drop the price to encourage people to buy. Ramkissoon could not say whether the price will increase or reduce for Good Friday.
“Fish a lil scarce right now. We hoping and praying that a fluctuation of fish will come to the market so that the customer will get fish a lil cheap,” he said.
He said apart from people losing their jobs, fishermen have to spend more on gas and travel further into the sea to find fish. “It goes hand- in-hand. Is a hustle right now,” he said.
La Brea fisherman Gopaul Balkissoon said while they were not catching fish everyday, he has been netting a lot of shark and catfish. Balkissoon and his crew of three who travel 15 miles out at sea in his 25 foot pirogue, said he would sell the shark wholesale at $10 a pound.
The size of the shark range from 20 to 180 pounds. The most they ever caught at one time was 25. “This morning we hold one. It come up alive and so it firing bite so we had to hit it on his head.”
He planned to go back out to sea last night.
- by Sascha Wilson