Do you know where your seafood comes from? The best is those that comes from Johor’s many nearshore artisanal fishermen. These folks brave wind, waves and storms in less than 20-footer boats with small outboard engines in the dark of the night to get you best the sea has to offer.
They do not go far, and are usually at sea for about 6hrs at night, returning at dawn, depending on the tide. If you can buy their catch fresh off the boat, it is chemical free, sweet and will taste better than anything you can ever find in a supermarket.
The catch is also sustainable because they use light gill nets that do not destroy the habitat (unlike trawl nets) and are usually species-specific (meaning that the net size is made to trap only their target species, and release others).
Fresh fish has no smell. It is only those that have been caught and kept that begin to smell ‘fishy’. These are often also soaked in a chemical mix of preservatives, usually formalin.
Most of our fishermen are in the bottom 40% (B40 group) and fishing is the only livelihood they know. Fishing isnotjustajobtothem.Itis heritage, culture and personal pride. It is not possible, easy or financially feasible for them to switch to aquaculture or farming even though wild stocks may be decreasing, because fishing is life.
The next time you head to the market, spare a thought for the effort, risk and skill that it took to land your seafood. Visit Pasar Pendekar Laut, a non- profit initiative by Kelab Alami (kelabalami.weebly.com/pasar- pendekar-laut.html) for quality, fresh-off-the-boat, often still alive seafood that ensures fishermen get paid for the true value of their craft.