Singapore

Bad weather leads to rise in fish prices ahead of CNY

A recent spike in the price of fish that is likely to continue with Chinese New Year just weeks away was partly the result of recent bad weather, which caused some shortages among Singapore's regular suppliers, fish sellers told The Straits Times.

Mr Lim Choon Yau, who represents wholesaler Song Fish Dealer, said fishermen in countries like Indonesia and Thailand have reported poor catches and unpredictable weather which prevented them from fishing in recent weeks.

He said: "The price of Chinese pomfret has risen from about $30 to as much as $50 a kg. If the weather continues to be bad, who knows how high the price could rise?"

Late last month, a tsunami in Indonesia's Sunda Strait killed hundreds of people and destroyed fishing boats.

Last week, Tropical Storm Pabuk caused floods in southern Thailand and killed at least one fisherman in Koh Samui.

Supermarket chain FairPrice said varieties of fish that are more popular during Chinese New Year, like red grouper, snapper, threadfin and pomfret, cost 10 per cent to 15 per cent more now compared with last month.

A spokesman said: "Prices of popular products typically increase leading up to the festive period, as they are affected by market demand and external weather conditions."

Fishmonger Jeffrey Tan, who runs DishTheFish outlets at West Coast Plaza and Beo Crescent Market, said on Friday that prices have risen about 35 per cent over what they were two weeks ago and are changing daily.

On Friday, Chinese pomfret at DishTheFish, sourced from Indonesia, was being sold for $38 to $45 a kg, depending on the size of the fish.

Red grouper at DishTheFish was going for $40 to $50 a kg.

Rabbitfish was being sold for around $15 to $25 a kg, but Mr Tan said he expected the price to double or triple in the two weeks leading up to Chinese New Year, which coincide with the fish's spawning season.

Higher prices do not deter shoppers like Madam Catherine Chua, who often hosts the reunion dinner for her extended family, and is used to paying more for fish during the Chinese New Year, she said.

The 70-year-old business owner said she plans to buy Chinese pomfret as usual despite the price.

Food & Drink