Monsoon season not an issue for father of 18 coastal fisherman
Last Update: 14/11/2019
KOTA BHARU, Nov 14 -- The current northeast monsoon season is keeping East Coast coastal fishermen out of work as it is too dangerous to go to the sea because the waves were high and rough.
Nonetheless, in Kampung Pantai Pulau Kundur here, for elderly fisherman Isa Hassan, 63, he is still able to earn an income during the monsoon months by gathering wild oysters along the riverbed of Sungai Che Deris.
“I have been doing this for the past 30 years during the monsoon season to cover my family's expenses… the earning is quite satisfactory,” he told Bernama when met at his home in the village.
According to the father of 18 with his youngest child being 15 years old, Sungai Che Deris is about 20 feet deep and is home to oysters that breed naturally along the river bed. The river is located about one kilometre from his house.
He goes to the river almost every afternoon from 2 to 5 pm with some of his children.
“To search and collect the oysters is not an easy task, we have to dive into the river without an oxygen tank. I can hold my breath under water for about four minutes.
“Within that time I need to find and pick them before coming to the surface to breath again and put them in the boat. The skill to find the location of the oysters is also important,” he said.
Isa said, for the time being, the condition of the river is suitable for gathering oysters because the water is still salty which give rise to large and thick oysters.
“However, during the flood season, the water becomes less salty causing the meat to become thinner and the quality will drop, thus affecting demand from customers,” he said.
Isa explained that the oysters need to be extracted (shucking) from their shells before they can be sold.
"Shucking oysters is dangerous and requires skill. Not anybody can do it, the shell is so sharp that the slightest mistake can lead to finger cuts.
“I can collect up to 20 kilogrammes of oysters of various sizes a day depending on the weather and sell them to wholesalers at Pasar Siti Khadijah in Kota Bharu or to customers who come to my house for RM10 ringgit per kilo,” he said.
He added that the demand for oysters is quite high, it tastes really good when roasted or cooked with instant noodles.
"There is even a popular instant noodle dish called Maggi Oysters that is available in Town,”he added.