The Fisher-men’s Cooperative Units in the Bonny/Andoni Cluster of Rivers State have attributed the high cost of fish in the market to the increase in the prices of fishing equipment.
The Chairman of the cooperative, Mr Raymond Dike made this known in an interview with The Tide in Port Harcourt, last Monday.
According to him, the high cost of fishing gears has made it increasingly difficult for young people to buy it.
He said, outboard engine that was sold at N200,000.00 is now sold at N450,000 while the prices of fishing nets and other accessories increased by 40 per cent than before in the market.
“You have to buy fuel to power the engine and you know that we do buy in drums and butter rubbers, which are an additional cost in filling stations.
“The cost we incur to get the fishes affects the market prices of the little fishes we are able to catch”, he said.
Dike said the number of fishermen in the cluster was more than 6,000 but only few of them have the fishing equipment to go into high-sea for fishing.
He said any person who desires to venture into fishing business now must have at least N2 million naira to do the business to a standard.
He however said majority of the fishermen still operate with canoe, and that those local boats could only operate in shallow waters where crude oil and bunkering activities had already made fishing very difficult as means of survival in the area.
Dike also said that the increase in bunkering activities around the shore-line in the area have driven all the fishes out of the area into the high sea.
The Cluster chairman, who called for government intervention said fishermen and women who harvest on sea foods on the shorelines were now finding it very difficult to survive, explaining that they had to go to far places to get those sea foods, which made the market process of fish very costly in the market.
The Tide learnt that fresh fish in the market now sells for between N2,000 and N2,500 per kilogram, while the smaller ones in basket also cost higher.