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Entertainment, Food & Beverage

Expect to pay more for fish maw

Prices 'between 20 and 60 per cent higher compared to last year'
January 23, 2013
By: Benita Aw Yeong
| More
Expect to pay more for fish maw

If you're a fan of luxury seafood like fish maw and abalone, expect to shell out more money for these delicacies during the Chinese New Year, said suppliers.

Prices for fish maw - favoured by the Chinese as a festive dish - are between 20 and 60 per cent higher compared to last year, wholesalers and suppliers told The New Paper.

"Strong demand, especially from countries such as China, has led to an increase of at least 50 per cent in prices compared to the past couple of years," said MsDoreen Tee, an executive at Yeow Seng (Shark's Fin) Private Limited, which also distributes fish maw.

Fish maw, shark's fin, sea cucumber and abalone are considered luxury seafood, popular during the festive season.

Chinese New Year is on Feb 10.

Some are switching from shark's fin to fish maw, especially with the anti-fin movement gaining traction over the last few years, said Mr Yio Jin Xian, general manager of Chin Guan Hong Private Limited, which imports and exports a range of Chinese delicacies.

Mr Jeff Poon, who owns Yau Shing Private Limited, now sells fish maw at $8,000 per kg, up by 20 per cent from last year's price, he estimated.

Consumers will also have to pay more for abalone, although traders do not expect the price hike to be as steep as that for fish maw.

Currency fluctuations

Mr Poon, who has been trading in shark's fin, abalone and fish maw among other delicacies for the past 35years, said currency fluctuations also contributed to the rise in prices.

"The price of Australian abalone has gone up by about 20 to 30 per cent," he said.

Then there are environmental problems putting pressure on supply, reported The Business Times two weeks ago.

Natural disasters like the earthquake in New Zealand and the floods in Australia have contributed to a decrease in supply of abalone, Mr Andrew Goh, director of De Cheng Xin Xing Trading, told BT.

Advanced fishing technology, which has led to overfishing, has substantially reduced the number of large fish suitable for high quality fish maw, added Mr Mario Chua, chairman of Victoria Wholesale Centre.

benitaay@sph.com.sg

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