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Thu 3 Mar 2016 11:09 AM

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UAE fish prices soar as spring trawling ban takes effect

The government has introduced a temporary fishing ban until April 30 to save stocks

UAE fish prices soar as spring trawling ban takes effect
(Getty Images)

The price of fish in the UAE has gone up by around $5 per kilo after the country introduced new trawling regulations this month.

The UAE Ministry of Environment and Water has implemented a temporary ban on fishing that will be in place from March 1 to April 30.

The ministry aims to control the problem of overfishing, which was causing depletion of stock with a negative impact on the local fishermen community.

Among the measures taken by the ministry are a clampdown on illegal fishing trap methods and new licensing requirements for fishing boats.

However, fish vendors have reported a shortage of fresh catch as a result of the restrictions, with prices soaring in turn, according to local media.

The price of king fish is currently around AED40 ($10.8) per kilo, compared to around AED25 ($6.8) per kilo last year, according to Emirates247, while hammour now costs AED30 per kilo and prawns cost up to AED80 ($21.7) per kilo.

One unnamed fish retailer commented: “Most fish prices have gone up by AED20 to AED30 per kilogram. As a result, customers aren’t buying as much as they used to.”

Another vendor was quoted as saying: “From March 1 to April 30, there is a new restriction on fishing, especially Sheri and Safi, two popular fish varieties for UAE citizens and expatriates. We have been warned against displaying or selling these varieties of fish and if we are caught by the authorities, there is heavy penalty too.”

 “Usually, during the winter months of December until February, availability of fresh fish in the market used to be very smooth and prices remained low. But this year, the trend has been reversed,” he added.

The UAE has also launched a campaign to save sharks in national waters. Officials raided fish markets across the country at the end of last month in a bid to end the illegal trading of shark fin.

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