Stormy weather – what’s that got to do with the price of fish, you might ask?
Quite a lot, it seems.
The price of fish from the Atlantic Ocean has soared since Britain began battling against an onslaught of storms in the southwest.
The cost of fishy favourites such as haddock, plaice and whiting soared by as much as 10 per cent.
That’s equivalent to an extra 35p on the average price of a fish supper too.
Jonathan Adams, president of the National Federation of Fishmongers President, said: “The price of fish is always affected by the weather, but when it goes up, consumers must expect to pay as much as 10 per cent more.”
Fishmonger Malcolm Smith, from Eastgate Market, who has run his stall for more than 35 years, said: “Usually fishing boats go out for five to seven days but they have only been able to get out for a day or two because of the bad weather down in Cornwall and Devon.
“Prices can fluctuate by up to 35 per cent in just seven days but we try to even out the prices throughout the year so that we don’t shock the customers.
“The prices are starting to come down again now because there are more fish in the system. Things will improve week on week.
“Fish are a bit like the stock market. It is the only product these days that is still auctioned. They sell for the price that buyers want to pay.”
Michelle Maher, at the Black and White restaurant, in Longsmith Street, said: “I know that the prices can change quite a bit throughout the year but we don’t charge our customers any extra. They take the hit ourselves because we know things will even out throughout the year.
“We buy the most expensive cod that there is so it is very good quality but we do notice that the prices change a lot.”
Wholesale prices for popular white fish such as cod, haddock and whiting have risen dramatically in the past 12 months. Haddock has shot up in price to £1,474 a tonne, up 54 per cent, while plaice has soared to £1,246, or a 51 per cent increase.
It has turned a once cheap and cheerful family affair into an expensive meal for many.
But the government body Seafish, which was established to ensure quality of the fish that ends up on our dinner tables, said most of the rise because of the recent weather will be taken on by business owners until the price drops back to normal levels rather than passing it on to their customers.
FACT FILE: THE PRICE OF FISH
The price of some fish can soar by up to 35 per cent during times of bad weather like that seen in recent weeks.
Malcolm Smith, from the fish stall at Eastgate Market, says the current price for cod and plaice is £15.35 per kilo.
You can pick up pollock for £13.50.
Mackerel and herring are going for £6.55.
Lemon sole is being sold at £16 per kilo.
Other fish such sea bass and bream, which are predominantly cultivated, and tuna are usually unaffected by changes in the weather.