(MENAFN - Arab News) A kilo of regular-sized shrimp that sold for SR30 two weeks ago has increased to SR45, with jumbo-sized shrimps rising from SR60 to SR90 and super jumbo from SR90 to SR125.
"The price increases are partly because it is currently off-season, and the market is suffering from high demand due to an influx of visitors, which has resulted in weakened supplies," said Ghasam Al-Jizani, a vendor at the Jeddah fish market.
Another reason prices had increased, he explained, was the Kingdom having to import large quantities of shrimps from India, Thailand, Yemen and the Philippines to meet demand.
Due to the higher prices in Jeddah, where most seafood markets in neighboring cities such as Makkah stock their inventories, the chain reaction has been felt in even higher prices.
"We have been hearing of complaints concerning higher prices, but we have explained that we have no choice, since wholesale prices in Jeddah are already high, and we must be able to turn a profit," Tariq Gong, an employee at a seafood market in Makkah, stated.
Nonetheless, some say that a weak supply is not the main reason for the price increase; instead, it is due to vendors and owners of seafood restaurants taking advantage of the tourist season.
"I usually like to take my family to Thuwal to visit one of the outdoor seafood restaurants, where my children can play and we enjoy a nice fish dinner," Abdullah Al-Qurashi said. He added that despite Thuwal having its own fishing industry and seafood market, he noticed the prices had recently been increased four times to what they currently are in Jeddah.
Arab News investigated this claim and found that hamour is currently priced at SR22 a kilo in Jeddah, while restaurants such as those in Thuwal are charging up to SR90 a kilo for the same fish.
Upon inquiring about astronomical price increases, the owner of an outdoor seafood restaurant in Thuwal who wished to remain anonymous told Arab News, "This is a tourist spot, which includes extra services that have to be included in the price of the meal."