General manager of Southern Fishermen’s Association James Nicholas, said that more than 5,000 pounds of tuna was sold on Friday after the company disclosed that it had reduced the cost to around 60% because it had to create room for new stocks.
“We had so much fish in our freezer and every day fishermen are providing us with more; we realised that if it was not sold, we would have to dump some to make way for new stock, so the decision to reduce it to that price was the final attempt to provide consumers with an opportunity to purchase good fish at a reduced price,” he said.
Initially, the company had reduced the price to EC$5 but that did not result in the anticipated increased purchase because if was felt that the fish was not good quality. “However, when I explained that the fish was good and the only problem was that it did not meet the standard for export, that many came forward and purchased,” said James who explained that it was a chaotic scene on Friday at his company’s headquarters in Grand Mal.
“We were not prepared for that rush. It took us by surprise as hundreds flocked and thousands of pounds were sold. By the time we checked the freezer, the amount set aside for the sale was cleared out, and as a result by Saturday morning, the price was EC$5 per pound,” he said. “Even with that increased price of EC$5 we had a lot of persons coming in and purchase, because they realised it was good quality fish.”
James said that 48% of the tuna fish caught by fishermen locally are not able to be exported because of a combination of factors which affects the quality, from catching in the sea to delivering them to the major buyer.
“Yes, fish is a major export and it brings in good foreign exchange, but what we realise is that old fishermen with bad fishing practices are not understanding and putting into practice the initiatives for good quality, thus we have most of it remaining in Grenada instead of getting exported,” he said.
“It’s for this reason, we had and will continue to have so much tuna in our freezer and have to come up with innovative ways to sell the stocks locally, and in this case it worked for us,” he said.
Nicholas is not certain if his company will have a fish sale in the near future.
by Linda Straker