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Giant river prawns make up for poor fishing in Malaysia drought

Giant river prawns make up for poor fishing in Malaysia drought

Giant prawns among the barbecued offerings seen at a food stall in Malaysia. (Photo: Reuters/Edgar Su)

KULIM, Kedah: Despite being forced to reduce fishing activities during the day, inland fishermen in Kampung Ujung Padang, Sungai Muda in the Malaysian state of Kedah can still generate income by catching giant river prawns at night.

Rivers have become shallow due to the recent scorching hot weather, causing the fishermen's catches to dwindle and affecting their income. 

"Thank god it's the season for giant river prawns," said Mohd Soaid Bakar, chairman of the Mukim Sidam Kanan Inland Fishermen Association on Monday (Mar 25). 

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"However, we have had to change our routine because the giant river prawns only come to the surface at night. They are difficult to catch during the day because they stay in hiding," Mohd Soaid added. 

He said most of the inland fishermen near the Kulim district would come out at night between 7.30pm to midnight to catch the giant river prawns, which are sought after at the market. 

"The giant river prawns are more active at night and gather in shallow water or at the edge of water to find food," he said.

Mohd Soaid said the market price for giant river prawns is higher compared to river fish, reaching between RM90 to RM150 a kilogramme, and can make up for the fishermen’s loss of income during the drought season.

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"The fishermen here will get at least RM90 to RM200 daily from the sales of the prawns, which is more lucrative than catching fish.

"A giant river prawn weighs from 250g to 450g. It is adequate if a fisherman can catch two or three daily," he said.

Pickled fish maker Hadani Saidon, 64, said the prawn season has helped him to not just make up for losses, but to also stay healthy. 

"When it's hot, my fish catches dwindle and I also suffer health problems. But now I can catch giant river prawns at night. I am thankful that I can still get RM100 to RM150 each time I go out to catch prawns as I often get at least four," he said.

When Bernama paid a visit to Sungai Muda, there were many fishermen using fish traps and fishing poles to catch the prawns.


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