The prices of some of the “cheaper” fish varieties, such as sardine and sheri, have gone up due to a shortage in the local market.
Importers as well as operators of retail fish outlets attribute the low availability of both types of fish to a “steep fall” in the catch in the regional waters.
Some of the suppliers told Gulf Times that sardines are largely brought from Oman where the fish is usually available in big quantities. However, imports from Oman have suffered over the past three months as there has been a major drop in the catch there, they inform.
Sardines, which are generally sold for QR3-5/kilo at retail outlets, are now being traded for prices ranging from QR10-12, according to sources. The fish costs around QR8-9/kilo even at the Doha Central Market.
The sources point out that Oman has been the biggest source for sardines for the Gulf states, as well as for some other countries in the neighbourhood, for some time and the poor catch there has forced suppliers to import the fish from India. However, owing to increased overheads, the quantities procured from India are more expensive, they add.
Similarly, the price of sheri too has shot up considerably of late, going beyond QR20/kilo at the Central Market. The fish was being traded for around half the price earlier this year. There has been a steep fall in the availability of this variety, too, including in the country's waters, according to many suppliers.
Retail operators said a shortfall in the availability of the two varieties, along with some other types of fish, has dented their business.
On a brighter note, some varieties of prawns are now available in the Central Market from QR15 onwards, giving many consumers something to cheer about.
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