BY LYNTON AARON FILIA
THE open beche-de-mer season is taking its toll on the supply of fresh reef fish in the local market, it is reported.
Honiara’s central market, which used to be teeming with reef fish venders, is now host to only a handful.
This decline has caused a dramatic surge in the price of reef fish, irking customers and public alike.
From the usual price range of $10-$15 per pound, the cheapest one can find now is $20 per pound.
Central-market fish venders explain to Island Sun that this is due to fishermen in the provinces switching to diving beche-de-mer, giving their fish stocks a breather.
Hence the supply of fish reaching the capital is in its all-time low.
The venders continue that they cannot do much since they are fish-buyers themselves, who purchase fish from fishermen in the provinces and re-sell them at the market outlets.
Their main supply of reef fish come from the Isabel and Western provinces.
Honiara City Council’s Market Master Jimmy Hanson Riunga confirmed that beche-de-mer has affected the fish trade in Honiara.
He adds that it was obvious the reef fish decline began days after the beche-de-mer open season was announced.
Meanwhile, the supply in the high-seas species, especially bonito, remains untouched.
Ministry of Fisheries was called for comments, but unsuccessful.