DOHA: The government is taking steps to regulate the prices of fish and other seafood items by fixing their pricing on a daily basis.
It is understood that the price determining process might change the current supply system which is dominated by middlemen.
Fishermen get paid less for their catch and prices are often manipulated, with consumers suffering due to soaring rates.
The Ministry of Economy and Commerce seems to be inspired by its intervention in the Central Fruits and Vegetables Market in early 2011, when it began fixing the prices of perishables on a daily basis.
The Ministry’s Consumer Protection Department (CPD) has been able to stabilise the prices of fruits and vegetables with the daily price determination. A draft decision of the economy ministry to fix the prices of fish and other seafood items and change the supply system has got initial approval.
According to the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning, the price fixing system should be introduced soon. The draft decision consists of rules and regulations of how seafood sales and pricing at the Central Market is to be regulated.
In a detailed communication, the civic ministry has told public representative body, the Central Municipal Council (CMC), of the economy ministry’s decision. The civic ministry’s communication to the CMC was in response to the latter’s recommendations to help improve the local fishing industry and back Qatari fishermen.
Plans are also afoot to set up Qatari Fishermen’s Association to help the industry have a say and better organise itself. The jetties in Doha, Al Wakrah and Al Khor will soon be expanded with added facilities. The government is presently working on the plan.
The CMC had also demanded that land be allotted near Doha Port to build facilities to manufacture fishing gears. The government is also working on this plan.
The municipal ministry has, in its communication to the CMC, also given details of the various easy and soft financing modes of the state-owned Qatar Development Bank that are exclusively meant for Qatari fishermen.
The evening shift at the Central Fish Market was begun on an experimental basis on CMC’s recommendations and it is expected that the system might continue. The CMC had also recommended that ways and means be mulled to encourage citizens to invest in fishing industry to provide it a boost.