KUALA LUMPUR – July 20, 2017: Despite the general opinion that prices of fish have gone up drastically, the Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (Fomca) doesn’t agree.
In saying so, Fomca points to the cheaper alternatives consumers can choose from.
Instead of buying fresh fish from wet markets and jetties, which are usually expensive due to low supply, consumers should buy the frozen variety.
Those looking for cheaper alternatives are asked to try farmed freshwater fishes like keli (catfish) and haruan (snakeheads).
According to Fomca deputy president Mohd. Yusoff Abdul Rahman, because farmed freshwater fishes are bred in a controlled environment, their supply is not heavily influenced by erratic weather and seasons.
Yusoff was responding to the latest outcry over the unreasonably expensive saltwater fish sold at wet markets.
A video of a man grumbling about the high price of kembung (mackerel), selar (yellowtail scads), bawal (pomfret) and tongkol (tuna) at an undisclosed wet market was widely shared on WhatsApp and Facebook over the past few days.
The unidentified man in the video had called on the government to control the prices of fish.
Yusoff, however, argued that imposing price control will only hurt the market and economy.
“It may seem like a great idea but price control will not only inhibit the growth of the economy but also create an unfair situation for fishermen and fish sellers,” he said.
Yusoff also refuted the allegation that the government had done nothing to tackle the seasonally steep fish price hike.
Last year, the Fisheries Development Authority introduced a frozen saltwater fish stockpiling initiative called ‘Q-Fish’. It’s a price regulation method that will be activated if fish prices rise too high.
“But of course, you won’t see these frozen fish being sold at wet markets and jetties so consumers have to know when and where to shop,” said Yusoff.
Fish under the Q-Fish initiative is sold at the pasar tani (morning markets), Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia and the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority-owned grocery stores, MyFarm Outlets, nationwide.
Among the fishes sold under the initiative are mackerels, tilapias, yellowtail scads and cencaru, all of which are frozen through the individual quick freezing method.