Affordable for low-income families: Increased demand for fish in Ras al-Ain

Residents flock to buy fish due to its lower price compared to meat in Ras al-Ain – February 15, 2024 (Enab Baladi)

Residents flock to buy fish due to its lower price compared to meat in Ras al-Ain – February 15, 2024 (Enab Baladi)

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Enab Baladi – Ras al-Ain

The markets in the city of Ras al-Ain, northwest of al-Hasakah, have witnessed an increasing influx of residents purchasing fish, given its lower price compared to meat and chicken, in addition to its health benefits.

Enab Baladi documented a list of prices for the most prominent types of fish available in the Ras al-Ain markets, with a kilo of carp costing 22,000 Syrian pounds, barbel 20,000 Syrian pounds, catfish 18,000 Syrian pounds without fishbone, and common carp 21,000 Syrian pounds.

Fish prices are low compared to meat prices; the cost of a kilogram of mutton is 150,000 Syrian pounds, lamb meat 140,000 Syrian pounds, while the price of chicken meat is 31,000 Syrian pounds, and chicken breast is 45,000 Syrian pounds per kilo.

Daily wages in Ras al-Ain range between 30,000 and 40,000 Syrian pounds (approximately two and a half dollars), varying according to the number of working hours and the type of profession, whether it is agricultural or construction.

A fundamental choice

With the gradual rise in meat prices over the past years, the city of Ras al-Ain has seen a change in eating habits; fish, which was not a preferred option on the residents’ tables, had been playing second fiddle to red meat and chicken as a main dish.

Saif al-Din al-Arabi, a resident of Ras al-Ain, told Enab Baladi that the deterioration of the economic situation has had a negative impact on families’ ability to purchase meats and poultry, indicating that fish has become a fundamental choice due to its reasonable prices after being a rare choice in the past.

Meanwhile, Mariam al-Salim, a woman working in agriculture in Ras al-Ain, said that the fish prices are cheap and acceptable for her family, which consists of six members and has a limited income, noting that she has taken on the role of head of the family due to her husband’s death.

She mentioned that an amount of 50,000 Syrian pounds allows her to buy a sufficient quantity of fish for her family, which would not be enough for purchasing mutton, beef, or chicken.

Yasin al-Adil told Enab Baladi that buying fish has become a habit for him, noting that he purchases three kilograms of catfish (18,000 Syrian pounds per kilogram) every week.

He pointed out that the cost of preparing any meal containing vegetables and its requirements is estimated at about 40,000 Syrian pounds, thus he sees fish as a good choice.

Residents flock to buy fish due to its lower price compared to meat in Ras al-Ain – February 15, 2024 (Enab Baladi)

Residents flock to buy fish due to its lower price compared to meat in Ras al-Ain – February 15, 2024 (Enab Baladi)

The source of fish

Mustafa Kinan, a fish shop owner in Ras al-Ain, told Enab Baladi that most of the fish come from the Balikh River, which originates from the village of Ain al-Arous three kilometers south of the neighboring city of Tel Abyad adjacent to Ras al-Ain.

He added that a part of the fish in the market is caught from the Khabur River in Ras al-Ain.

The city’s residents, whose population numbers 115,000, mainly rely on agriculture as a primary sector. Ras al-Ain and Tel Abyad are adjacent to the Turkish border and are controlled by the Syrian National Army (SNA), surrounded by battlefronts with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), with the Turkish border being their only gateway to the outside world.

The Syrian pound is the currency circulated in the region, but its troubled status and unprecedented devaluation have burdened the locals. The second currency is the Turkish lira (not widely circulated) due to the city’s proximity to the Turkish border, and the third is the US dollar.

Every US dollar is equivalent to 14,650 Syrian pounds, and the Turkish currency is 31 pounds, according to the S-P Today website, which specializes in currency exchange rates.

 

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