Friday, September 25, 2009
Saturday, June 20, 2009
3 hours boat ride from Sematan to Tanjung Dato,spent the evening there.Try to get as much live bait as we can and at the same time,try to 'play' with the aggressive Parrot fish.
From Tanjung Dato,2 hours ride across the international water border of Malaysia and Indonesia,to an area called Alor.
Here we got attacked by Barracuda,GT,Sea Snakehead,Grouper and etc.
Some GT got landed,great fight!.One sea snakehead,one lizard shark but no barracuda landed.They just bite the bait half,and even the other fish that we caught,left only the head of the fish to the frustrated angler.:)
Saturday, June 6, 2009
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Sunday, May 31, 2009
The empurau – a swimming gold mine
By Puvaneswary Devindran
IT is often said nature and development can complement each other on the basis of a “sustainable” co-existence. This binary tie-up with an eye on nature conservation is important if we want the future generations to still be able to see wild life in their natural habitats rather than on a web page for extinct animals.
Consider the empurau(Malaysian Mahseer/Tor tambroides) — a local fresh water fish. Its numbers are dwindling but certainly worth replenishing because of the good price the fish can fetch — reportedly RM380 or more per kilogramme. Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation (STIDC) Forest Resource manager Dr Elli Luhat is currently experimenting with breeding the empurau in the backyard of his home at BDC. Elli, who grew up in Belaga, took naturally to fishing because of the many streams and rivers in the district. But he was especially drawn to the empurau, intrigued by its vulnerable and somewhat elusive character.
“In the last decade, people have been talking about how difficult it is to catch the empurau. What’s more, its numbers are decreasing. So I feel it is my role as an environmental scientist to look into why the fish is likely to become extinct,” he said. According to him, the empurau is found mainly in trans-Himalayan countries like Nepal, Afghanistan and all the way to Burma. It is known as “mahseer” in some of these countries. Touted as the undisputed king of the Himalayan rivers, the mahseer belongs to the Tor family of fishes and is the largest member of the carp species.
The local empurau (Tor tambroides) is the most exotic big indigenous fish, and often confused with the Semah from the same family. Elli said the empurau is found in most of the major rivers in Kapit, Belaga, Limbang and Lawas with some in Ulu Baram, depending on the environment. The fish thrives in swift, clear streams with rocky bottoms. “The empurau needs a quiet place to breed and survive, and is very sensitive to pollution. Its breeding is seasonal — normally three times a year, particularly during the Landas when it will swim upriver in search of a conducive place to spawn,” he explained.
Elli pointed out for the empurau to thrive, three conditions were essential — a temperature between 19 and 33 degrees centigrade, dissolved oxygen content in water between 3.5 and nine milligrammes per litre, and cleanliness. Despite the stringent requirements, Elli believes breeding the empurau in an artificial environment can be done, pointing to his three-year-old brood stock as proof. He started out with four parent fish trapped from streams in Kapit and Limbang. Hook and line were not used because the empurau is notorious for shunning bait, making it the angler’s ultimate challenge. After examining both pairs, Elli found one of them ready to breed, and from the first successful try, 2,000 fry were produced.
Under ideal conditions, one fish can produce 10,000 to 20,000 fry, excluding the mortality rate. The empurau is a slow breeder and will not produce eggs even if induced with chemicals.
Elli has 12 pools at home and eight more in Serian where he keeps the bigger fish. The setup has cost him not less than RM40,000. He breeds the empurau mainly to assess the economics involved. For the moment, however, he is doing it more for research and development purposes.
He said a lot could be discovered and done to help boost the empurau’s depleting population like coming up with the type of food to help it grow faster, stressing that this was very important given the species’ slow growth rate. “We hear of people catching 20 to 30kg empuraus in the wild but we do not know how long it takes for the fish to grow to that size,” Elli noted.
Another aspect of his research is to investigate the nutritional values of the fish which he believes produces a substantial amount of Omega 3 nutrients. Elli does not rule out the possibility of commercialising his stock but reckons now is a bit too soon.
“Right now, I don’t have the numbers to talk about going commercial. But if I can do breeding in a controlled environment, perhaps I can get thousands and thousands of fry to make commercialisation viable,” he said. With a roughly 800-strong brood stock in hand, he reckoned a 50 per cent yield would be good enough to produce a sizeable number of fry a month.
Moreover, from the productive stock, he could also select “an elite or plus fish” for breeding to keep genetic disorders at bay. Although presently doing his own the project, Elli hopes to collaborate with the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry to secure research funds and facilities, and work closely with the Tarat Indigenous Fisheries Research and Production Centre which is carrying out a similar project. “We should look into this seriously. This is our natural resource, our wealth from the environment, so we must tap the economic potential of this fish and turn it into a huge industry for the State and the Dayaks in particular,” he said.
The market price for a kg of empurau is RM380 but there are reports of people paying up to RM450. So, in simple arithmetic, a 30kg empurau can send a fisherman laughing all the way to the bank … with more than RM10,000 in his pocket. There have also been reports of people catching empuraus weighing up to 30 kg and of gourmets who won’t mind splurging just to get a taste of the fish. The empurau is much sought after by the Chinese community who regard it as a symbol of prestige and prosperity … and of longevity as well. There are three common local species — white, red and black — and market preference for the white variety has also pushed up its price.
According to Elli, those who have eaten the fish say the taste depends on where it is caught. For instance, empuraus caught in Limbang taste different from those caught in Kapit. This could be due environmental and nutritional factors. Although he sees no difficulty marketing the empurau, Elli believes the main reason it’s not considered a favourite option by food business operators is that they do not understand or are aware of its economic potential.
The other thing is, of course, the difficulty in finding empurau fry. “I’m trying to encourage empurau-rearing among the Dayak community and had presented papers on the fish at seminars in the last few months not only about ordinary breeding or rearing but also smart farming,” he added.
Elli suggested promoting smart farming to make fish rearing and production profitable, saying businessmen should venture into different areas of the industry. “Like right now, I’m breeding empuraus. Perhaps others could explore different areas like producing feed for the fish or bigger-scale rearing. Such collaboration will prevent us overlapping each other’s specialties.”
Breeding empuraus can create a win-win situation for both the State’s environmental conservation efforts and economy. Towards this end, Elli is trying to promote rearing the big fish in areas set aside for forest plantation. While some quarters welcome his move, others feel the empurau can breed on its own. Unfortunately, the latter have failed to realise that without conservation efforts, the species could soon become extinct. Indiscriminate logging is affecting the empurau’s population as its food source comes from some of the vegetation and trees along the riverbank.
Even with a policy to conserve certain trees in force, wanton logging has resulted in the trampling of trees that sustain the habitats of the empurau and other fish.
The empurau’s food source comes from the ensurai trees and the engkabang which are as highly demanded as the meranti. These trees also provide shade to keep streams cool and adequately oxygenated for the empurau’s survival.
“During my school days, we ate empuraus nearly everyday. As Orang Ulus, we pride the empurau as the king of fishes because of its size and value. Personally, I dub it to a swimming gold mine,” Elli said. He can be contacted at ordrelliluhat@ gmail.com.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Monday, May 25, 2009
One rod gave up!
Few hours we were there..few lads came with fishing net!
No wonder it was so 'nice' to do fishing here.
Till the next location.
yes...sure,i'll put the picture of the 'monster' here.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
The majestic Sarawak river with Mt. Serapi as background.The branches of this river are the home for mega size Toman/giant snakehead fish.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
The weather was good,except few times of thunder sound from afar,lightning can be seen far to the southwest,around Sempadi/Lundu area.Small wave,enough to cradle our 18ft-long boat and caused sea sick for a beginner.:P
Dinner on the boat next to the island with beautiful sunset view made fried Luncheon tasted like bacon!
Ironically,there were no squid come up for the light,made us short of fresh life bait.
First catch was a small stripe fish called 'ikan gok' by the local.And then quiet till the night.Heard sound of surfacing turtle couple of time and dolphin whistling,which worried us a bit since the locals belief that the sight of dolphin might be the sign of thunderstorm.But nothing bad happen,maybe because it was just the sound.
Next catch was baby stingray fish..and again stingray fish...and again stripy 'ikan gok' fish....all in baby size.What the heck..where is the monster?
A couple of similar size boats also fishing around that area.One of them followed us and stay near to us.Maybe they thought that we are catching a lot of fish around that area.Well,the blinds always follow the blinds.
Took a nap for a few hours,felt like a baby sleeping in a cradle,with the small wave touching the boat.The nice view of the star and full moon(yeah,full moon with king tide,perfect time for fishing huh?..smart!),didn't last long since it was so cold from the 'romantic' wind of the sea,so we moved inside for a nap.
Woke up again just before sunrise.Caught nothing,so we moved nearer to the river mouth.
A crab got my friend hook and didn't want to let go till he landed on the boat.Prodigy!
No barramundi(siakap) eventhough we did some casting.And the current near the river mouth was so strong until at one time we were drifted for a couple of kilometres.
So,we called it the day and headed back to the fisherman village.The boat owner told us that the water was 'too thick' for fishing and wrong timing.The other guys on the other boats caught nothing!
Had coffee and roti canai before we heading back to Kuching.
Next time we'll check for the perfect time,water and moon before we go for sea fishing.
Anyway...Good try...'Seasick Pirate'! :)
Approching the islands.
Sunset..look at the rod.Bend it like Beckham!
Dinner with options,squid or prawn?
Baby sting ray.
Aliens are coming in the cloud!
Sunrise over the legendary Mount Santubong.
Captain Jack Sparrow!
Heading back to the river mouth.
Lets call it the day.Mount Serapi is the landmark to find your way back to the fisherman village.
See ya..don't want to be here....
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