PETALING JAYA: Malaysians can expect to pay at least 15%-20% more for seafood during the Chinese New Year period because of a supply drought, according to the fish trade.
Sing Kiang Hock, chairman of the Kuala Lumpur Hoi Seong Fish Wholesalers Association, said prices were rising as about a fifth of the fishermen were remaining on shore, hampered by a lack of manpower and the high cost of fuel.
Adding to this is the bad weather and strong winds, he told FMT.
He said items such as silver pomfret and prawns will go up the most as they are highly sought after.
“In my 20 years in this business, I’ve never seen such record breaking prices.
He said white pomfret was going for RM160 for 500gm, while the price of prawns was RM80 per kilogramme, fourfinger threadfin (senagin) RM28, Indian threadfin (kurau) RM62, snapper RM38, grouper RM36 and squid RM43.
“Silver pomfret and prawns will be sold directly to restaurants. You won’t be able to get them at the wet markets in KL. If you’re lucky, you can get them directly at the fishing villages or online.”
An FMT survey at three markets in the city showed that seafood prices have already gone up.
Sim Sam Eon, 28, a fishmonger at the Sentul wet market, said prices have gone up by 10% to 15%.
“For example, snapper used to be RM30 per kg, now it’s RM40. Large prawns were RM50 now RM60. Demand for silver pomfret and grouper will also increase before Chinese New Year.”
At the Chow Kit wet market, fishmonger Yap Geok Lay said despite the skyrocketing prices, her customers are not skimping on purchases.
“Customers are still buying prawns at similar volumes. They’re essential for Chinese New Year,” she said.
Vegetables will be cheaper
The positive side is that while seafood prices soar, vegetable prices are expected to go down by more than half in the next two weeks as the weather improves.
“Prices are steadily falling and vegetables will only become cheaper” because there were no problems with supplies, KL Vegetable Wholesalers Association president Wong Keng Fatt said.
A check at the Pudu market however showed that prices still remained high due to the almost daily rain in the last month.
Ah Kong, 60, a vendor in Pudu, said the price of brinjal increased from RM6 per kg to RM11 while green beans (kacang buncis) increased from RM8 to RM13.”
In Sentul, vendor Jeyabalan Sangkramaniam, 56, said customers are buying less due to the high prices. “They would rather not cook,” he remarked.
As for poultry prices, the government has set the ceiling price of chicken at RM9.40 per kg but this could change for the festive period.