I totally overestimated myself when I thought that waking up at 4 a.m. was no big feat. I literally had to muster all my strength and take a deep breath just to open my eyes.

So what was I doing up at 4 a.m.? I dragged my tired bum out of bed to make a trip to Senoko Fishery Port!

Senoko Fishery Port is the younger sibling of Jurong Fishery Port. Business starts as early as 2a.m. where fishes are sold at wholesale prices to local fishmongers or restaurants.

I am no foreigner to wet markets as I often accompanied my grandmother to the market when I was young but Senoko fishery port REALLY threw me off guard (second time I overestimated myself haha). The first thing that welcomed me was the smell. The smell was…WOW, an exotic concoction of fish, garbage, exhaust, and the moist morning air, a.k.a HORRENDOUS. Next, the sight: fishes of all sorts were strewn all over the ground. On rare occasions, the most that stall vendors would do is to stack the fish in a somewhat haphazard order.

Zero respect for dead fishies ):

Anyway, you guys can check out Ophelia’s blog post if you are interested in the surroundings of the fish port and by-catch!

Various fish being sold including stingrays.

I was so fortunate to be able to interview one of the very few souls who could speak fluent English at the port (most of them speak dialect or Chinese, and saying that my Chinese is bad, is an understatement). My main concerns were about what they thought about overfishing and the waste generated from the seafood industry.

According to the interviewee (let’s call him Mr. Fisherman), not much waste is generated as there are rarely seafood left unsold. If there was, it will be stored in iceboxes and sold at a lower price the next day. He also mentioned that Styrofoam boxes were often reused as they incurred a cost (albeit from the corner of my eye I saw many cardboard/styrofoam boxes being tossed in a corner and I am not sure if they actually reuse or recycle them.)

When asked about overfishing and if he thought it warrants concern, Mr. Fisherman’s answer was no. He claimed that overfishing is not a large driver of the declining health of the environment. Hence, there are no concerns about its implications other than the increasing prices of fish and its decreasing size (supply?). Mr. Fisherman also said that it is difficult to ameliorate environmental problems because “there is always a market”. He gave shark fin as an example, that even though many places prohibit its consumption due to ethical issues, people still eat it. This nonchalant? attitude towards the environmental crisis really struck me as it seems to be a recurring mindset. People feel that even if they tried to live more sustainably, there will still be others indulging in things that pose risk to the environment, hence making them less compelled to want to make a change in their lives.

When I asked if this was a shark, the uncle proudly proclaimed yes.

However, let us not discredit or forget about those who are serious about making a change, for example, this nasi lemak store!

Owner of nasi lemak stall, Mizzys Corner. The Indian mackerel was introduced as a replacement for the endangered ikan kuning. ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM