IPOH • Fishermen in several Malaysian states have warned of a price increase for fish and other seafood as they brace themselves for a considerably lower haul caused by the rainy season.
Rough seas are forcing fishermen to stick closer to the shoreline.
The vegetable harvest is also expected to drop during the monsoon season, causing a spike in prices.
Ms Jeanne Khor, secretary of the 300-strong Pantai Remis Fishermen Association, said the rainy season could cut the fishermen's catch by 50 to 60 per cent.
She said the price of mackerel could rise between RM5 (S$1.60) and RM10 a kilogram, and sardines from RM4 to RM7.
Heavy rain inundates Malaysia from November to January, often flooding the eastern and northern states in Peninsular Malaysia, and is accompanied by strong winds at sea. Penang, Perak and Kedah states were hit by flooding last week.
Said Perak's Kuala Sepetang Fishermen Co-operative representative, Mr Bee Liang Chai: "It rained heavily in the last two months but even though there is less rain now, the catch has decreased compared with previous years."
Mr Azli Mohd Aziz, president of the South Johor Fishermen Association blames middlemen for the sharp increase in fish prices during the monsoon season.
Meanwhile, Cameron Highlands Malay Farmers Association chairman Syed Abdul Rahman Syed Abdul Rashid said he is expecting a 20 per cent to 25 per cent drop in the harvest of vegetables during the rainy season.
He said the rain could also cause vegetables to be affected by fungal growth or bacterial diseases.
He said tomatoes are expected to cost RM4 per kg from RM3, while cabbage will go up from RM1.20 to RM2.
Still, the prices of fish and vegetables in Singapore are unlikely to be affected by the monsoon, said trade groups.
The Singapore Fish Merchants' General Association said prices of fish in Singapore will not be affected.
"The market demand in Singapore is not very high, so usually the prices will not be impacted," said a spokesman for the chairman's office.
Mr Tay Khiam Back, chairman of the Singapore Fruits and Vegetables Importers and Exporters Association, said at present, it does not look like prices will be affected as there has not been much change to the supply volume.
He added, however, that it might be too early to tell for sure.
•Additional reporting by Cheow Sue-Ann