Scurry! Fish ahead

Around the time that you are tucking yourself into bed, at 10pm, these workers at Jurong Fishery Port are just starting.

Each day, they have to deal with about 200 tonnes of seafood.

The seafood is brought by nine boats, from 11pm. Many of these vessels bring the seafood from neighbouring Indonesian islands.

Laden with stingray, squid and all kinds of seafood, the boats are greeted by the workers, mostly from Johor, who wait patiently at the dock.

Once the first vessels come in, it is ordered chaos at work. The workers' first task is to unload the containers of fresh seafood from these boats.

They recognise their bosses' plastic containers by the colour and markings on them.

Dealers in this wholesale market have their own workers.

There are about 100 dealers here.

As the workers pull the containers through the narrow alleys towards their allocated space, they yell to everyone in dialect , telling them to make way.

No time for pleasantries when there is so much to do and so many customers to entertain.

The floors are slippery and covered with shiny puddles of ice-cold water, but these professionals navigate their way effortlessly.

Bare-chested workers empty the contents from the containers onto the floor. They then sort the fish according to size and place them into smaller baskets.

Next comes the scaling and gutting of the larger fish, before displaying them on the floor or in large baskets, covered with mounds of ice.

Some of the fish are so fresh that their tails are still flapping as they gasp for oxygen.


It gets busier after 2am, when wholesale buyers from wet markets and supermarket chains arrive.

There is hardly any time for rest, but when the workers can, they will rest wherever they can, for example, on crates that have been loaded onto lorries.

Their wrinkled hands say it all and as the country stirs from its deep sleep at 6am, the workers can finally take a breather to wash the concrete floors and clear choked drains while their bosses count their cash.

As the first rays of sunlight bathe the market, the workers' day is finally done.

They start again when the night arrives.

Get The New Paper for more stories.