Urban Tropical Ecology in Singapore

The Fish Market
by -- March 19th, 2012

Two of my Coastal Environmental Management classmates, Dr. Orbach, and myself ventured out to the Jurong Fishery Port early this morning. The fishery port is open 24 hours a day, but from 2 am to 6 am there is a retail and wholesale fish market. We arrived at 4:30 am to a blast of sights, sounds, and smells. We walked through the parking lot with workers loading trucks with ice and fish. Forklifts moved around the parking lot with crates of fish packed in ice. Under the covered market there were hundreds of fish dealers, workers, and buyers.

 

By the time we got there the dealers had bought the fish from the fishermen and were cleaning, displaying, and selling the fish. Workers were scaling and gutting fish, weighing buckets and boxes, and packaging the fish in shovelfulls of ice.

Two workers hoist a box of fish on a scale

Dealers were selling the fish to buyers who carefully looked over the catch. As we walked between the rows of fish dealers we tried to avoid the workers who hauled flats and baskets of fish, as well as the puddles of fishy water that drained off the elevated concrete slabs where the dealers laid out their fish. It is definitely a place to wear your rubber boots.

Buyer inspecting the fish for sale

The types of fish at the marked included snapper, grouper, other small marine fish, rays, crabs, squid, and we spotted one shark. There were even some clams, cockles, and crabs kept in live-wells to sell still alive.

Squid for sale in a box

 

Rays piled on the concrete slabs

Things were wrapping up by about 5:30am when workers were spraying down the concrete slabs and the dealers were carefully counting their cash. If we arrived earlier, there could have been even more action. We missed most of the fast paced hawking of the best fish of the catch.

Fish dealers counting up as the workers clean up

We headed out, and while we took a taxi to get there we quickly realized that finding one to go back would be much more difficult. There were no taxis nearby in the predominantly industrial area, and when we called the company there were no taxis that would come and pick us up. Perhaps they were afraid of people with bags of smelly fish getting into their cars. So we made our way to the bus stop. There is only one bus that goes past the fishery port, so we hopped on and hoped for the best. We kept our eyes peeled for recognizable bus numbers and names, and 2 transfers later we were on a bus that stops by our hotel. We arrived back at our hotel just in time for breakfast and to regale our late-sleeping classmates with some fishy tales.

2 Comments

  1. Fuji Lozada
    Mar 21, 2012

    Hope it wasn’t too cold at the market; it’s easy to get sick going from cold to hot. Did you guys figure out precisely what buyers were looking for during the auction? Sounds like a great trip!

    • Michelle
      Mar 22, 2012

      The market was open air. There was a roof to the building but no walls. at 4 am it was about 80 deg F. There are lots of air conditioned buildings and we do go from cold to hot but the market was outdoor. It was hard to tell what the buyers wanted, we didn’t see much haggling. I think we missed most of that.

©2016 Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University | Box 90328 | Durham, NC 27708
how to contact us > | login to the site > | site disclaimers >

footer nav stuff