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Foul weather may prompt Phuket seafood price hike

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Foul weather may prompt Phuket seafood price hike | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: The severe rains that have plagued the country over the past two weeks may cause significant revenue losses for Phuket’s fishing industry.

Teerapong Apaip-atdee, a researcher at the Phuket Fisheries Operative Center, said the rains may cause damage to livestock in ponds that are used to farm saltwater fish and shrimp.

“It may cause the salt content in saltwater shrimp farms to shift. This may lead to massive amounts of livestock dying from the sudden change in water quality.

“It also makes them more susceptible to outbreaks of disease,” Mr Teerapong said.

Out of fear of further heavy rains, shrimp farmers may harvest their livestock prematurely, he said.

The smaller shrimp therefore cannot fetch the desired prices in the market, leading to a further loss in revenue, explained Mr Teerapong.

Phuket shrimp farms produce up to five million kilograms of shrimp each year.

Foul weather offshore is also likely to weigh heavily on Phuket’s fishing industry as owners not only forgo fishing revenue, but still have to pay laborers’ wages even if the boats stay in port.

Mr Teerapong said this is likely to encourage many fishing boats to defy weather warnings, which may lead to more accidents – and costly equipment damage – at sea.

He urged the government to step in to help fishing and marine farming industries affected in Phuket and elsewhere.

“If the severe weather persists, we may see revenue from fisheries and shrimp farming fall by as much as 50%”, Mr Teerapong warned.

“Prices of farmed shrimp are likely to stay the same in the short term due to abundant stocks. However in three to four months, prices may start to rise due to shortages of young shrimp, which may have been destroyed or prematurely harvested.

“Prices of offshore catch may rise by as much as 20% in the next couple of weeks as fishing vessels are not able to operate,” he added.

— Anand Singh

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