Laila Mangour - Algeria
When you pass by fish restaurants on Bab Azzoun Street in Algiers, you are attracted by types and varieties of fresh seafood, but enjoying an integrated meal in such restaurants may cost you thousands of dinars, a budget that you will not bear unless you are financially capable.
Seafood has been absent from the tables of simple Algerians in recent years due to the high prices. A man with an income that is semi-limited and has a family of eight or six cannot eat fish at least twice a week as doctors advise.
The Algerian is deprived of fish consumption, although his country abounds with huge marine wealth, because the Algerian coastline extends over 1234 km, and there are 14 coastal states and 33 fishing ports.
According to the head of the National Committee for Maritime Fishing, Hussein Ballout, told Algerian radio last January, national production of fish wealth reached 387,000 tons in the 1980s, but then it declined to 72,000 tons annually.
If the Japanese top the list of fish consumers in the world (80 kilograms annually) and the European is between 24 and 26 kilograms, then the Algerian consumes only two hundred grams per year , due to the high prices and the shortage of the product, as indicated by Ballut, who also revealed that Algeria imports four hundred thousand tons Of fish annually from abroad.
|The high prices are due to the pollution that caused the migration of fish from the Algerian coast (Al Jazeera).|
Food for the poor
Sardine is one of the most popular fish in Algeria, and it is called the food of the poor, because its prices have always been accessible to most people, but this species in turn entered the list of seafood prohibited from the simple citizen.
After the price per kilogram of it ranged between two hundred dinars (1.66 dollars) and three hundred dinars (2.5 dollars), the prices gradually increased during the past years, reaching today between six hundred and eight hundred dinars.
As for other varieties of white and red names such as "calamar, shrimp, shrimp, squid, cod, merlon (as the Algerians call it), musa, tuna, rouge, and other types" it has become a luxury for the simple, because its prices are very high.
|Sardines were the food of the poor due to its low price, but it entered the expensive list (Al Jazeera).|
Shrimps are a luxury
The price of shrimp (Royal) in most fish markets that we visited in the neighborhoods and regions of Algiers is about thirty dollars or a little more than one kilogram, and it is one of the most expensive types of fish in Algeria.
Prices of other fish, such as musa, squid, "merlon", "rugby", etc. ranged between ten and 16 dollars per kilogram.
According to Fadi Tamim, National Coordinator of the Organization for Consumer Protection and Guidance and its surroundings, fish prices are not in line with the purchasing power of the citizen, and he indicated in a statement to Al-Jazeera Net that this rise is due to the fact that most of the fishing ports are controlled by a mafia that is permeated in this activity, according to his expression.
Most of the fishers and traders we spoke to attributed the large price of fish to the pollution that caused the migration of fish from the Algerian coast, in addition to the scarcity of rain, the lack of fishing possibilities and the lack of respect for laws.
|Many items that can only be bought by the affluent (Al-Jazeera)|
Families do not taste fish
One of the citizens says that he used to hear the different justifications with every increase in prices, and all of the people we spoke to at a fish market in the Al-Sharqa neighborhood (west of the capital) showed their grumbling about the continuation of this situation as it was, especially with the approaching holy month of Ramadan.
Sufyan, who was examining the prices of the fish offered in the market, said that the simple citizen can no longer buy sardines for his children because the price is very high, so what about the shrimp, marlon, and rugby, and Sufyan acknowledged that his family did not taste the fish for more than a month.
Zainab did not hide her complaint from the inflamed prices in the fish markets in the capital, and she said that her sick husband is the only one who eats fish because the doctors advised him to do so, while the rest of the family is deprived of it.
In turn, Samia, 35, regretted that she would not be able to decorate her Ramadan table with shrimp, shrimp, fish soup and other seafood, but she would replace the fresh fish with the freezer, she says.
Some hope that conditions will change and the state will be able to control prices not only in the fish market, but also in the vegetables and fruits markets and all consumables in particular, and the holy month has come close, which was indicated by the 50th Othman, who said, “The popular movement overthrew the gang that pillaged the goods of Algeria, and we hope that it will be completed. Clearing our country of all corrupt people so that living conditions improve. "