Fish prices have gone up in the market further apparently due to shortage of ice required for freezing and transportation of the largely consumed protein item. Traders alleged that the ice production has been affected badly by the frequent power outages for the last few days. Prices of riverine and cultured fishs witnessed a hike by Tk 40-150 a kg amid a lower supply in the wholesale markets like Mawa, Shyambazar, Karwan Bazar and Shawari Ghat. “I hardly could source two blocks of ice (24 kg block) from a factory at Sultanganj at Tk 200 each as compared to the maximum normal price of Tk 130,” said Golam Ali, a fish vendor at Rayerbazar in the city.

He said supply was also lower at Shawari Ghat wholesale on Wednesday as fishing boats in the rivers have also reduced their operation for shortage of ice and rising operating cost for higher diesel prices. He said shoul fish was selling at Tk 620-640 a kg at the wholesale. “We’re selling it at Tk 700-750 a kg.” Hafizur Rahman, a fish wholesaler at Shawari Ghat, said sourcing ice has become a tough job nowadays as it takes minimum 24 hours to make a 24 kg ice block.

Factories are struggling to make ice amid 8.0-10 hours of power load-shedding a day, forcing them to make ice blocks in 48-60 hours, he said, adding that the owners have stopped using expensive diesel to run the factories continuously. Rezaul Karim Biblob, another fish trader at the same market, said apart from ice shortage, the ongoing fishing ban in the Bay of Bengal also contributed to the latest hike in the fish prices. Started in the last week of May, the ban would continue until July.

He said the lower supply of sea fish, especially hilsa, poa and others, has affected the riverine fish market. He said hilsa price shot up to Tk 1,200-2,000 a kg. The rising prices of riverine fish also pushed up the cultured fish prices. Cultured koi, pangas, tilapia, ruhi, katla witnessed a hike of Tk 40-50 a kg. Cultured koi was selling at Tk 250-320 per kg, pangas Tk 250-300 a kg and tilapia Tk 240-280 a kg on Wednesday, according to kitchen market sources. Mortuza Khan, a Shyambazar based wholesaler, said riverine ruhi price shot up to Tk 500-700 a kg at Mawa, Shahjadpur and Bhairab wholesales, marking Tk 150 a kg hike in a week.

He said most riverine big fish showed Tk 100-150 a kg hike. Mr Khan said the city consumes 2,400-2,600 tonnes of fish a day, but the supply might have declined by 25-30 per cent in the last few days amid low catch due mainly to shortage of ice. Bangladesh produces 4.6 million tonnes of fish annually and consumers in the capital city consume 0.9-1.0 million tonnes.