Fujairah, August 27: Do not get misled when you find a fish with dark red gills. That might be a trick played by fishmongers to sell the stale catch.
Some vendors at the fish market here are applying a red coloured substance onto the gills of the fish for it to look fresh. Attracted by their “freshness”, a number of customers are paying more for these fishes only to realise when cooked that they are not fresh at all. The fishes may even be unfit for human consumption. Customers at the fish market told Khaleej Times that they have found a red material on the gills that is applied by the fish dealers so the fish looks fresh. “This is something unfamiliar to us,” said some of the customers.
They pointed out that the red substance does not fade easily or come off when they touch the gills with their fingers to check the freshness of the fish so they do not doubt it to be any artificial substance.
Hind Abdullah, a housewife, said: “I am used to going to the fish market thrice a week. I saw those fishes displayed on the counters. They do not often look fresh, and are even not fit for human consumption. The colour makes the gills look bloody red, a mark which denotes that a fish is fresh. I have doubted many times that something wrong is happening.”
“I tried to rub and remove the red substance on the gill with my hand, yet it was sticky and could not be taken out, which makes it difficult to a normal customer to detect the trick,” she said.
Hamoud Musabeh, a customer, stated that Asian fishmongers tend to place a red material onto the fish gills to make it look fresh and deceive customers. Unfortunately, such tricks could not be detected and noticed by the official bodies since fish dealers resort to mixing the fresh fishes with the stale ones.
The Fujairah Municipality said that nobody has lodged a complaint with it in this respect. To verify the matter, the municipality dispatched a number of health inspectors to take samples of the fishes and find out whether really there is an artificial red substance that is put onto the fish gills to deceive customers or not, and to check how hazardous the substance is.