UAE fishing industry faces increased costs :: KT
Hamad Al Rahoumi, Chairman of the Cooperation of UAE Fishermen Association in the UAE told Khaleej Times yesterday, “fuel makes up for more than 70 per cent of our operational costs and with the recent hike in fuel prices, our expenses are bound to increase.”Fuel had been priced below cost, subsidizing many activities especially those like fishing where fuel is a large portion of operating costs. The question to ask is why should the fishing industry be subsidized? What is the objective? And if government assistance is to be given to local fishermen, why should it be through a subsidy which encourages fishing when the government is concerned that there is overfishing in the Gulf?
“National fishermen who own big fishing boats usually went to sea for longer duration to return with large volumes of fish catch. But, increasing fuel costs will force many not to travel far off distances resulting in comparably smaller fish volume available for the market,” said Al Rahoumi indicating the inevitable increase in fish prices both by the fish brokers and retailers from the next season will affect the local fishermen.
Al Rahoumi disclosed that fishermen are anyway reeling under pressure of steep labour fees of up to Dh2,500 to Dh3,000 to be paid for hiring expatriate labour for their boats, increase in prices of steel and fibreglass used for fishing boats and cages among other expenses.