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A fish story from the Market for Good Friday

For those who are staying home on Good Friday, finding something to eat will be difficult as stores and fast food establishments will be closed. And if you do find a place that is open, red meat would not be on the menu because of the dominant Christian tradition in Belize. Love News went to the fish markets at Conch Shell Bay, Yabra and the Barracks not to just ask why the price is high but how good is the catch on the seas at this time of year.

Jose Sanchez: “Easter is celebrated throughout Belize due to the wholesale observation of Christian traditions and Murrays during lent abstaining from vices and even meat on certain days including Good Friday. It’s a tall order for a country that consumes not only the beef but the feet on cows and the tails on pigs. That is why perhaps some fisherman charge extra for their product but not all as this Yabra fisherman Rupert Lopez says he is keeping his everyday prices.”

Rupert Lopez Fisherman: “I push mostly in the south because in these areas they only give you two things for your licenses: north and south, like any two areas you can pick. Well, I fishing north and south but right now I am fishing south.”

Jose Sanchez: “And how long have you been out at sea with your recent catch?”

Rupert Lopez Fisherman: “Well, I went out from Monday evening at about four o’clock, bait was giving a lot of trouble so really it was only yesterday apart from today because the bait was giving me trouble so I wasn’t going to come in until this evening.”

Jose Sanchez: “What kind of fish did you get and how much?”

Rupert Lopez Fisherman: “I get very well snapper, red tail you know, a couple of big ones but most of them are like medium and small ones. I have an amount of fish that I have for my peoples them and these fish sell for the same price that I sell them every other day. I am not going to raise any price on them, right by Yabra Bridge, right by Yabra Bridge I am at right now and I will sell them for a reasonable price.”

Jose Sanchez: “On the Barracks fishers believe it is all about the service?”

Reality Fisherman: “This is the best market right now in Belize. Anybody come here they get tended to with love out here, we give away from the free plastic bag so once they come here and hear a little nine today they should feel grateful because gas went up. We are not killing them like Vernon St. that want $13 and $14 for fish deh. Fire is on the Barracks at all time but the love is here.”

Jose Sanchez: “Conch Shell Bay where the bulk of the local fishermen and cleaners convene had a variety of options for good Friday.”

Rodney Fisherman: “The fish just aren’t biting, we go all over bro.

Jose Sanchez: “Do you think it is overfishing, climate change, what do you think?”

Rodney Fisherman: “This time of year well sometimes they don’t bite, the fish just aren’t biting. It isn’t overfishing because there a lot of fish out there, sometimes fish just aren’t biting.”

Jose Sanchez: “So you no have what you want but what do you have to sell today? Let the public know.”

Rodney Fisherman: We have a lot of small fish you know and we try to reason off with the people, we have fish for $5, $8, $10, all different price.”

Jose Sanchez: “You know the people say oh the fisherman them like to raise their price on us, are you keeping your regular everyday prices?”

Rodney Fisherman: We raise too because this trip was a bad trip so we just raise up a little dollar more or so.”

Jose Sanchez: “You have to pay for your fuel and your ice?”

Rodney Fisherman: “Yes ice, fuel and things like that. We didn’t get Christmas this year, well I didn’t get Christmas this year maybe the rest of the fisherman did but we didn’t catch anything good this year, a lot of small fish.”

Alvin Aka Shubun Fisherman: “These are love and all of these are done right so we don’t have any more of these so what we have now left is theBarrow, the Jimmy Hien and this is deep water Black Snapper you call this.

Jose Sanchez: “What are the prices going for? And why do people like that?”

Alvin Aka Shubun Fisherman: “Well because it comes from the deep, 7 to 800 ft. of the line you have to be hauling to catch these.”

Jose Sanchez: “So that is your stash, that does not sell again?”

Alvin Aka Shubun Fisherman: No this is going home for me and my sweetie putoots and apart from that this is deep water Black Snapper. This has a lot more flesh and thing, we call these Jimmy Hein right so these are the very nice same way too, they are like rockfish and grouper. Apart from that, we have the Barrow.”

Jose Sanchez: “Where are your traditional fishing grounds and what kind of money do you have to spend on your ice and your fuel?”

Alvin Aka Shubun Fisherman:Well, I will be real with you right, the whole expense that we call expense to go to sea and come back, everything cost $600, that is for everything. Apart from that if you have to buy a hook, line and stuff you will spend at least $800 to go out there and my main fishing ground is across the blue. You have to go either Turneffe, Half Moon Caye or Glover’s Reef, way out there.”

Jose Sanchez: “Do you know why in Easter people buy more fish? It is a good fishing season and Easter for you? How was your catch?”

Alvin Aka Shubun Fisherman: The catch was very good, it is just as I always say, every Easter week fish cut style like they don’t want to bite so you have to really know how to fishing and where to fishing because they bite like when fly the bite you. “Tick”, “tick” and if you don’t know how to haul your line you won’t catch any fish.”

Nelda Valerie Consumer: “Well I am buying my fish to cook a little Hudut this good Friday for my six children and Mr. Brown, only us home and me.”

Jose Sanchez: “Christ was a fisher of men and women. Christians fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday and abstain from eating meat as a sacrifice of the reminder that acknowledges Jesus sacrifice on the cross.”