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Posted On: 5 January 2016 06:19 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:15 pm

Big catch brings down fish prices at Central Market

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Large fish catches this winter have turned the Central Market into a buyer’s market as seafood prices have been falling much to the glee of fish lovers.

Vendors at the Central Market attribute the fall in fish prices to big catches this winter.

The Central Market operates in two shifts: From 4 in the morning to 2pm and later, from 5pm to 10pm throughout the week. The auction of fish for the vendors takes place daily during evenings.

Yesterday, kingfish was available at the Central Market for between QR25 and QR30 per kg.

Kingfish rates vary slightly based on their size. The price was QR30 for a big one. The smaller one, though, was available much cheaper—for QR23 a kg. Hamour, the most popular fish among Qataris, was sold for QR35 a kg (the bigger one) while QR30 per kg was the rate for the smaller ones.

Shahri was sold for QR12 a kg and Foskar was, perhaps, the cheapest fish at the market as it was sold for QR8 per kg. Kufar was available for QR10. While Jash was being retailed per kg for QR20, and Zubaidi was slightly more expensive at QR30.

The prices of Safi fish have also fallen. There are two types of Safi available in the Qatari waters. The variety that is fished in Al Shamal was marginally expensive as it was sold for QR35 per kg. The Safi variety hunted from the water near Doha was available at QR30. Both types of Safi fish are the same but their taste is different, fish lovers and retailers claim. Mohammad Ashiq, a vendor at the Central Market, told this newspaper that Al Shamal variety of Safi is tastier than its Doha cousin.

Fish prices fluctuate at the Central Market, depending on the quantity of catch. When the weather is good, large quantities are available for auction and this leads to a fall in fish prices.

“Put in simple terms, supplies dictate fish prices at the Central Market,” said a vendor. “Usually, we go in the evening to the auction yard to buy stocks. Fish are auctioned in a basket that roughly weighs 15kg.

A vendor or retailer or bulk buyer for personal use should take at least two baskets. Once the auction is over, authorities fixes retail prices based on auction prices. Two receipts for the auction are prepared — one for the authorities and the other for brokers. Every vendor must follow the retail price list issued by authorities daily. Outlets found breaching the pricing list rule are made to pay a hefty fine, said Ashiq.

Central Market outlets must comply with more regulations. A doctor visits outlets twice a day (morning and evening) to check the quality of fish offered for sale. Municipal inspectors make surprise visits to outlets to ensure the price list is implemented. Most customers insist on some discounts, said Mohammad Mia, another salesman. “Usually, we offer discount of QR1 or QR2 per kg.”