Malaysia: Monsoon season brings bountiful harvest, fishermen gets an alternative source of income

ADRIAN DAVID New Straits Times 4 Dec 16;

BESUT: The monsoon season is bringing in hordes of migratory ikan pulutan here, as coastal fishermen in Beting Lintang and Kuala Besut have discovered.

Pulutan is a type of thorny fish, also known as mayong and is a favoured alternative to ikan patin (catfish) to make tempoyak (a Malay condiment made from fermented durian).

The arrival of pulutan in abundance has offered the fishermen an alternate source of income, as they are unable to go deep fishing due to the adverse weather.

Some fishermen in large vessels were able to harvest up to 30 tonnes per catch out at sea, revealed Besut Fishermen’s Association chairman Tengku Harun Tengku Ismail.

The fishermen, he added, readily sold each kilogramme of pulutan at around RM6 to wholesalers, as demands in large towns have been good. A catch of 30 tonnes (or 30,000kg) can fetch a cool RM180,000!

“It is not unusual for ikan pulutan to appear during the monsoon season, from October to December. Some large ones can weigh up to 10kg each.

“When ikan pulutan appears, the fishermen know that the monsoon season has arrived,” said Harun.

The species, he added, often came to the coastal areas to lay eggs and breed.

“Thus, it is fattened and appears like the glutinous rice, the pulut, from which it derives its name, pulutan.”

Harun said the fishermen often pooled their resources together as a majority did not have large vessels.

“Therefore, these fishermen in smaller boats summon the help of larger boat operators to ferry their catch to the jetty and share the profits,” said Harun.

Fishermen, Khairul Hisham Che Harun, 38, from Beting Lintang said luck also mattered as not all the fishermen were always able to make a good catch.

“Many like me only make two catches a month, between two and six tonnes each time. Sometimes, the ikan pulutan escape from our nets which break owing to the mass weight of the fish.


“At other times, we came back empty handed without any catch at all,” said Khairul.

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