Pandemic hits family's fish trade

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to make life difficult for villagers who make a living from selling fish.

The Government’s declaration of state of emergency (S.O.E.) restrictions last year led to the closure of the Sunday fish market and restricted business trading hours on Sunday has meant less venues for fish vendors.

A 43-year-old vendor from the village of Mulifanua, Palema Paulo, continues to feel the wider impact of the pandemic on her fish-selling business.

She told the Samoa Observer in an interview on Saturday afternoon that she now sells fish in Fasito’o as there are more customers, consequently increasing the likelihood of her selling.

The mother-of-four sells a variety of fish in Fasito’o which appears to have more vehicle traffic than her own village.

Lamenting the impact of the S.O.E. lockdown on her family’s business, she says not a lot of fish gets sold these days and business is really slow, unlike the period prior to the COVID-19 shutdown.

Her family uses a motorboat and employs four local fishermen with their catch brought straight to Fasito’o to be sold once they return from a fishing expedition.

However, getting value for money is also a challenge for the fishing vendor, as most times they have to drop their prices if the fish is to be sold.

"If we don't drop the price of the fish it won’t be sold," she said.

When asked about the income earned form the fish sold in this pandemic era, Mrs. Paulo said each day is different and on some days they would get $300.

However, the fish would not be finished so they would have to store them in the refrigerator  and return with them the next day to continue selling.

The inability of the fishing family’s business to generate consistent income is already impacting their family with Mrs. Paulo also urging other mothers to consider seeking employment to supplement their families’ incomes in these difficult times.

Alternative income options would mean being unable to take care of one’s children, family as well as village and church commitments.

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