In less than ten days since a ban to fish mullet within Kuwait bay was lifted, municipality sources said that about a ton and a half of dead mullet had been washed ashore near the maternity hospital, reported Al Rai daily.
This had an immediate effect on fish prices at the Sharq fish market especially after PAAFRA announced Wednesday would be the last day of the mullet fishing season.
Observers said that mullet was not present in the daily morning fish auction held once fishermen returned with their catches on Wednesday morning and that this led to extreme hikes in the prices of those already offered for sale due to the high demand.
Inquiring about the prices, a few salesmen said that fishermen had stopped fishing mullet out of fear that customers might not buy them after the washed mullets made the news.
Another fishmonger claimed that many fishermen usually threw extra mullet catches to the sea in order to control its prices. A fish market accountant stressed that the main reason behind the price hike was Egyptian fishermen, who form over 75 per cent of the fishermen working in Kuwait, had already left to Egypt on vacations to spend Ramadan with their families.
KISR manager, Dr Naji Al-Mutairi said that a team had been assigned to investigate the recent fish deaths and take samples to be examined in labs. However, Al-Mutairi underlined that having appeared only in specific limited area, this dead fish incident was not an unlikely phenomenal and that a joint committee with PAAFRA was being also formed to investigate the matter.
On his part, the Environment Public Authority (EPA) chairman, Sheikh Abdullah Al-Ahmed stressed that EPA had been following up stories about fish death and that samples of those had been taken for study. He also said that the public would be transparently notified if they get any greater.
In addition, Al-Ahmed said that fish may die for many reasons at this particular time of the year when water temperatures are so high and oxygen is at its lowest levels. Al-Ahmed did not exclude the possibility of water pollution, though and, accordingly, he highly commended the ban decision as a precautionary measure.