The upcoming two-month ban on catching kingfish with nets in the local waters is unlikely to have a significant impact on the availability of this popular variety of fish during that period, according to sources in the industry.
The Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME) recently announced, through a notice on its Twitter page, that its fisheries department would enforce the ban from August 15 until October 15.
The move is aimed at protecting the species and boosting the stock of kingfish in the country. During the two-month ban, fishermen can only use hooks and hand lines to catch kingfish, the MME has said.
A fish supplier told Gulf Times that while the authorities have been putting in place such seasonal restrictions for the past few years, supply is not affected significantly in the country as a considerably large number of residents are away on vacation, especially during the first half of the ban period.
"As many regular customers are away from the country, the impact will be minimal," he said.
This, coupled with the fact that kingfish could still be caught with hooks and hand lines in the said period, will ensure that adequate stocks are available in the market and consumers would largely be unaffected, the supplier stressed.
"Experienced fishermen will have no difficulty in getting kingfish using the line and hook," said another source.
Replying to a query if there is any fall in the fish catch in general, at present, retailers said that since a large number of expatriates are away on vacation, whatever is arriving in the market from suppliers is more than enough to meet the local requirements.
This has ensured that there is no significant rise in retail prices, said one of them.
The ban on catching kingfish with nets was first implemented in 2015, helping achieve positive results in preserving the strategic stock of this migratory fish and manage the stock properly, according to the MME.