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The fish that used to be abandoned is now a specialty, traders compete to buy it

The 10th lunar month is the season of congee fish – a favorite seafood species. The fishing boats have just landed, and traders have scrambled to collect them all on the spot.

In recent days, fishermen in Xuan Yen commune (Nghi Xuan district, Ha Tinh province) have begun to enter the season of catching fish porridge. Porridge fish (also known as potato fish) has a soft body, without scales. Previously, this fish was only caught as food for livestock and poultry, but in recent years, it has become a highly sought-after food.

Porridge fish is available all year round, but the main fishing season takes place from October of the previous year to February of the next lunar year. This species lives 2-3 nautical miles offshore, at a depth of 20-60m. The fishing boat sets sail at 4am and returns at 8-9am the same day. To catch this fish, fishermen have to use nets.

The fish that used to be abandoned is now a specialty, traders compete to buy it
As soon as the boat docked, traders quickly approached to buy congee (Photo: Xuan Sinh).

Mr. Bui Xuan Phong (55 years old, residing in Xuan Yen commune) has more than 30 years of experience in the seafaring profession. Like many fishermen here, he catches seasonal seafood. Every October of the lunar calendar, he prepares boats and nets to go out to catch fish porridge.

“When the weather turns colder, the season of fish porridge begins. At the beginning of the season, the amount of fish caught is very small, each boat can only collect about 20-30kg,” said Mr. Phong.

Traders scramble to buy fish porridge (Photo: Xuan Sinh).

According to local fishermen, each boat fishing porridge usually has from 2 to 3 people. This is a difficult seafood to preserve, so when removing the net, classifying must be careful and gentle, otherwise, the fish will be crushed and devalued. Porridge fish also requires about 3 to 4 hours after catching to bring to shore for preliminary processing and freezing.

At the beginning of the fishing season, the amount of fish is still small, so the fish porridge is purchased at a high price. Currently, fish porridge is bought by traders at the wharf for 150,000-170,000 VND/kg.

Previously, fish porridge was rarely eaten, but now it has become a sought-after specialty (Photo: Xuan Sinh).

“Currently, the price of porridge is very high, so even though the amount of fish is small, the fishermen are still very excited. Each trip to the sea, minus the cost, one person also “pockets” 500 thousand to more than one million dong. Sometimes more but also more. sometimes there are not, depending on whether the fish is caught or not. In the future, hopefully, the catch will be more,” Mr. Phong added.

In general, from early morning, dozens of traders gathered at the boat station in Xuan Yen commune, waiting for fishing boats to dock to purchase. Every time a fishing boat docks, the trader’s race to run as fast as they can to the wharf, approaching to ask to buy. Even traders have to compete with each other to pay high prices to collect more.

Because at the beginning of the season, the amount of fish caught is small, but the fish is priced, so each trip to the sea, fishermen also “pocket” around 1 million VND/person (Photo: Xuan Sinh).

“At the beginning of the season, the amount of fish is very small, the buyers are many. About 4 today, I am here every morning to collect goods, but only got about one or two oats of fish porridge. I even asked questions. We discussed fishing boats before, but we couldn’t buy much,” said Ms. Truong Thi Hoai (trader residing in Xuan Thanh commune, Nghi Xuan district).

According to Hoai, this species of seafood was little known before and almost no one ate it. But in recent years, fish porridge has become a specialty that many people are looking for.

After buying goods, traders spread out to sell to consumers (Photo: Xuan Sinh).

“In the past, only a few people in the seas caught fish porridge to eat or make food for livestock and poultry. But now no one ever consumes that much, because many people like this seafood very much. “, Hoai said.

Fish porridge can be processed into many dishes such as cooking soup with vegetables, storing laksa leaves, making hot pot…

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