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Jakarta Post

Villagers thrive on salted fish industry

Thu, July 4, 2019   /   03:29 pm
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    Waterworld: A Tanjung Binga villager sets sail on the waters of Belitung Island. JP/Donny Fernando

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    Fresh catch: Fishermen of Tanjung Binga village in Belitung island cure their fish in salt to maintain freshness. JP/Donny Fernando

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    Shake it well: A fisherman rinses his fish before they are salted and processed. JP/Donny Fernando

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    Catchin’ rays: Salted fish are left to dry in the open for two days. JP/Donny Fernando

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    Savory snacks: Fully processed salted fish are ready to be packaged. JP/Donny Fernando

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    Final products: A villager packages salted fish before they are ready to be exported. JP/Donny Fernando

Donny Fernando

Located off the eastern shores of Sumatra in Bangka-Belitung Islands province, Belitung Island is a popular tourist spot well known for its pristine beaches and sunny weather. It also has great economic potential in its salted fish industry, which produces salted fish of a quality that is high enough for exporting.

The northern part of Belitung is the hub of the industry, where fishermen and salted fish producers congregate in Tanjung Binga village, around a 30-minute drive from the capital of Tanjungpandan.

A beautiful coastline bathed in scorching sunlight, filled with the sharp aroma of drying fish, greets visitors on entering the village. There, visitors will catch sight of freshly caught fish hanging to dry from

parak (traditional wooden bridge). The village’s fishermen cure their catches on their boats as they return to the shore, maintaining the quality of the fish. Back on land, they hang the fish to dry for two days under the sun, covering them with plastic sheets when it rains to protect them from becoming contaminated.

Tanjung Binga’s 2018 budget report shows that the industry produced 2 to 3 tons of salted fish per day, generating a total income of Rp 2.57 billion (US$182,229).

The abundance of marine resources in the region allows the village and its inhabitants to thrive on the fishing and fish products industry.