Friday, April 19, 2024

Deal reached on fish weighing and pricing


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Barbadians are being promised relief over their complaints about the weighing and pricing of fish at markets across the island.

A deal has been reached between the Barbados National Union of Fisherfolk Organisations (BARNUFO) and the Barbados Consumer Empowerment Network (BCEN) over the issue.

In recent times, some customers have expressed disgust over fish weighing, charging that in some cases it led to over-pricing.

In response, vendors cried foul, saying that members of the public did not understand the pricing by scale and scales.

However, after a special meeting last week between BARNUFO, BCEN and officials from the Fisheries Division of the Ministry of Agriculture, a number of new guidelines had been agreed to.

In a joint media release yesterday, the parties stated that BARNUFO will commit to implementing transparent weighing practices across all member vendors to ensure accuracy and fairness.

They also agreed to collaborate on an extensive consumer education campaign to inform the public about fair market practices, understanding fish weights and their rights as consumers.

In addition, BARNUFO, in collaboration with the Barbados National Standards Institution and the Markets Division, will establish and enforce quality assurance measures to guarantee that consumers receive fish of the specified weight and quality, as advertised.

Both parties said they recognised the importance of maintaining open communication channels during the sale and purchase of fish, and will from time to time set up a forum to address emerging concerns and foster a continuous dialogue between consumers and fish vendors.

“We believe that this collaborative effort with BARNUFO will significantly contribute to building trust between consumers and fish vendors. Transparent practices and ongoing communication are crucial for the integrity of the fish markets,” executive director of BCEN Maureen Holder said.

BARNUFO president Vernel Nicholls said fish vendors will stick to the new format.

“We are committed to implementing the agreed-upon measures to address the concerns raised by consumers. We believe that these initiatives will not only enhance consumer confidence but also contribute to the overall improvement of service in the fish markets in Barbados and enhance the operations of fish vendors,” she said.

Both groups said they were confident that the proposed initiatives will augur well for consumers and fish vendors across Barbados.

In October, a number of vendors at the Bridgetown Fisheries Complex on the Princess Alice Highway said fish was initially weighed with everything attached, but the weight was reduced post-cleaning.

“We buy the fish whole per pound so we will lose money if we sell it cleaned at the same five pounds. After you clean five pounds of fish, they can’t weigh five pounds.

“If you want five pounds, then you have to buy the fish uncleaned, but people don’t want to do that themselves . . . ,” one said.

Another denied they used faulty scales.

“If you want five pounds of [mahi-mahi] and you want it in steaks or filleted, first we have to pull off everything you don’t want or that no one eats – the fins, the skin, the tail, the insides, the rib cage – and throw all that away. It will now be around three pounds, but you buy it with all them things on.

“We have to make a profit; it makes no sense to buy something for $10 and sell it for $9. We have to explain it to people and show them the scales, but some people don’t want to hear you,” he said.




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