GEORGE TOWN - If you have been raising your eyebrows over the prices of various meats, here is some good news.
Catches from the sea by inshore fishermen in Penang are pouring in, sometimes so much that even storing them has become a challenge.
Large shrimps are especially plentiful, followed by silver pomfrets.
“During low seasons, we would receive only between 50kg and 60kg of prawns from fishermen each day.
“Since end-January, we received much more, averaging between 100kg and 200kg and up to 500kg daily,” said a fishmonger who wanted to be known only as Siang at Cecil Street Market in Penang yesterday.
Mr Siang said fishmongers were committed to buy everything caught by inshore fishermen, which has led to another challenge of storing them.
“Due to tremendous supply, we reduced the price of large prawns from RM60 per kg to as low as RM53 per kg so that people will buy more,” he said.
“Our freezer storage is quickly filling up. We have not seen such good harvests from the sea in the past 10 years.
“Hopefully, the stock would help us survive through bad seasons when harvests are low.”
Inshore fishermen in the south of Penang island confirmed that catches have been good, particularly large prawns and also “everyday fish” like cencaru (torpedo scad, popularly stuffed with sambal belacan and then fried throughout Malaysia).
Pak Wan, a 57-year-old fisherman in Balik Pulau, said he had not seen prawns in his net for over a year but they started returning about two weeks ago.
“Fishermen in Balik Pulau waters have not caught prawns for over a year and had to travel up to 18km to Teluk Kumbar to catch them,” he said.
“Since about two weeks ago, we started seeing their return and now, a boat of three fishermen who spend between four and five hours at sea can return with at least 20kg of prawns.
“This is good news for us as we missed out on the catches during Chinese New Year season.”
Another fisherman in Sungai Batu...