Oh Look, Krill!

Oh don't worry. Whales don't eat clownfish, they eat krill.

Saturday Adventures: Early Morning Trip To Jurong Fish Port

During one of modules last semester, my professor wanted to take the class on a field trip to a fish port to see how fish are brought in and sold. We never got around to doing it last year, so he asked around this semester, to see if we were interested. A few of us hardcore students agreed to go, even though the field trip was going to be in the wee hours of the morning.

As I didn’t have my own transport, a classmate of mine decided to pick a few of us up and drive us to the fish port. So at half past twelve in the morning, I made my way to the agreed pick up point. It was a quick trip to the port, especially with the help of his GPS device. At the entrance of the port, we had to exchange our identification cards for their card thing for security purposes. I don’t know why they wouldn’t accept a driver’s license as photo identification, but what ever.

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Piles of fish for sale

Even though it was early, early in the morning, the port was already bustling with activities. There were guys unloading containers of fish from the boats, guys unpacking the fish containers out into piles of fish, people selling the fish piles, people packing the fish piles into boxes for sale at markets and/or restaurants.

The group of us did a round of the wet market, while waiting for the professor to arrive and we saw so many different species of fish on sale. Some I’ve seen before and some I’ve not. Out of the lot that we saw, I think I could only name like three different types and even that, only in Malay. The rest of them, I would need a guide book to identify and name. To rectify this hole in my fish-naming knowledge, I think I should follow my parents to the wet market more often.

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Selar kuning, famous for being in nasi lemak.

The market wasn’t called a wet market for nothing as the guys selling the fish would just tip the containers of melted ice and fish juice, over on its side and drain the liquid onto the floor and into the drains. Some of my classmates had gotten themselves a pair of rubber boots, so their feet were safe and dry from squishing in fish juice and icy water. I wasn’t so lucky as I had on a pair of rubber sandals, so my feet were cold and rather sticky.

After the professor arrived, we went into the wet market and took another look at the wet market. There were more boats unloading, so there were even more piles of fish that appeared at the market. Ever few meters, we had to move to the side to make way and to avoid the trolleys of fish containers that were weaving through the market to get to the lots of fish or to the lorries for delivery. I think that the men were rather unhappy with us because we walked very slowly and due to us being a relatively large group, it took a some time for us to move aside and let them pass.

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Glass prawns

We weren’t the only people who were there to look-see, look-see. There were other people there too. I saw them walking around with their pants hiked up to their shins, wading through the icy puddles of water and their plastic bags of their purchases in hand.

While waking through the wet market, I wondered if the fish caught and sold at the market complied with the WWF Seafood Guide. Were this fish endangered where they were caught? Were there enough of these fish left in the wild to sustain their population for many years to come? It would be extremely sad and bad if there weren’t enough of the fish in the wild and that we were eating the last of the population.

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Flower crabs

Anyway, after a few rounds looking at the fish, the class decided that since we were there, we might as well buy something. Most of us ended up with at least a kilo of the glass prawns. Some of them bought fish as well. There were crabs and even sea cucumber for sale but none of us bought any of that. We left the port at about half past three with our purchases, smelling faintly of fish.

I thought that it was a rather interesting trip. I wouldn’t mind going back there again with my parents. The fish port is actually open to the public or basically anyone who was willing to go there in the wee hours of the morning to get their fish.

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