By Oleh: Lucia Terey John dan Muhamad Syafiq Mohd Tayeb
PONTIAN, Oct 19-- A visit to the district would not be complete without stopping at the Pontian Fish Market, located about 50 kilometres from Johor Bahru.
The market is known for its supply of large-sized fish such as grouper (kerapu), threadfin (senangin), pomfret (bawal), red snapper (ikan merah), stingray and so on.
There are also other fresh seafood such as prawn, squid and crab.
According to the fishmongers, the market has been around since about 35 years ago and operates from 4 a.m, until noon, every day except Monday.
There are about 40 traders selling local sea produce at the market.
One of them is Ng Beng Kang, 52, who took over the business from his father 18 years ago and is currently working with his wife.
“Usually, we will set up our stall at 4.30 a.m. Customers will flood the market at about 7a.m.
“We get most of our fish supply from fishermen around Pontian and Mersing, usually mackerel (kembung), grouper, snapper (jenahak), stingray, mayong, threadfin, herring (tongkol) and pomfret,” he told Bernama when met here.
Ng said the fish are sold at reasonable prices, drawing customers from as far as Singapore, Kluang and even Kuala Lumpur.
“Customers from out-of-state including restaurant operators come here, so I can earn up to RM5,000 a day just by selling fish,” he said.
Meanwhile, a regular customer, Liew Hui Peng, 48, said she often visits the market with her Singaporean friends.
“I live in Kulai but because this place is quite well-known, I don't mind coming here two or three times a month to get fresh seafood.
“I often come with my Singaporean friends. It is worth it because the fishes can be stored longer in the refrigerator.
“Furthermore, the nearby restaurants can cook the fresh fish that you buy here and serve it hot,” she said, adding that she normally spend at least RM300 on each visit to buy the fresh seafood.
Meanwhile, another customer, Jalilah Dessah, 60, said the market is a must-visit whenever she and her husband are in Pontian.
“We are from Wangsa Maju in Kuala Lumpur but we often come to Pontian to visit our daughter who work here.
“From my observation, the seafood here are fresh and affordable. Usually, I will look for mackerel (kembung), talang, or prawn,” she said.
Meanwhile, fisherman’s wife Wan Roslina Wan Abdul Rahman, 38, said her husband is one of the fishermen who provide the fresh seafood to traders at the market.
The fishes sold here typically weigh between two and three kilogrammes each and consist of sea bass (siakap), threadfin and grouper.
“This place is a centre for local fishermen, and some from Batu Pahat to market their catch, apart from selling it on a small scale to friends and family members.
“My family can earn at least RM1,200 a month,” she added.