Ahi shortage leads to higher prices

Brooks Takenaka of the United Fishing Agency
Brooks Takenaka of the United Fishing Agency
Guy Tamashiro
Guy Tamashiro

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - An ahi shortage has led to higher prices for fresh poke and sashimi in recent weeks. The bidding is fierce at the daily fish auction held at Pier 38. Ahi prices are high since boats are bringing in fewer fish.

"Basically, weather conditions have been bad. We're seeing the results of that and so we're not seeing as much fish. The fishermen are having a difficult time out there," said Brooks Takenaka of the United Fishing Agency.

Takenaka said conditions change throughout the season and also vary from year to year.

"Some of these skippers have been telling me that they're experiencing waves of anywhere from 15 to about 35, 40 foot waves. So it's pretty rough out there," Takenaka said.

At Tamashiro Market, workers have noticed the ahi shortage in the last six to eight weeks.

"There was one week that it was absolutely nuts. Some of the prices were maybe twice as high as New Year's that one day," said vice president Guy Tamashiro.

Prices for the store's ahi onion poke have ranged from $14.95 to $18.95 a pound. Some customers have stopped buying because of the increased cost.

"We have some of that and some people are just cutting back. Instead of ordering a pound, maybe they order half a pound," explained Tamashiro.

Tamashiro said a lack of frozen ahi also prompted people to seek out fresh fish which drove prices up.

"Monday there was a lot of fish so the prices were pretty reasonable, and then yesterday was a lot less and today was a lot less," said Tamashiro. "So if tomorrow's a short fish day then it's going to be very high most likely for the rest of the week."

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