Fish for Dinner

Bitung, on the Lembeh Strait, North Sulawesi, Indonesia

Cooks and fishermen at the fish market in Bitung, North Sulawesi, Indonesia
Fish for Dinner

At about six o’clock in the morning the sun begins to peek over Lembeh Island and the fish market comes to life in the port at Bitung. (Bitung is one of Indonesia’s largest, most active ports and the largest city on the Lembeh Strait.) A roofed building is provided for the fish market, apparently expressly designed for that purpose. There are broad concrete steps down to the water and tiled platforms and troughs are provided where vendors display their wares. Large and small boats come and go, while vendors and customers mingle and chat freely. Large fishing operators, individual fishermen and women, cooks, staff from local hotels and resorts along the Lembeh Strait, and ordinary husbands and housewives come together in a boisterous throng in the large open-air market facility, right next to the waters of the Lembeh Strait where boats of all sizes jostle for position.

The larger operators have laid out their catch on the tiled troughs. Individual fishermen have brought buckets or laid out their fresh fish on the pavement. The fish here come in all sizes and shapes. Some are kept on ice; some are displayed neatly; others are still in nets or tossed in pile on the ground. There are even large squid and small, colorful reef fish. One vendor has a mixed mass of reef fish. A parrotfish catches our eye and Nancy exclaims “it’s the same color as underwater! But I thought you can’t eat those?” (Nancy is right: Parrotfish meat may be poisoned if the fish ate poisonous coral.)

Buckets of fresh fish for sale at the fish market in Bitung, Indonesia
Fresh Caught

(Top image [“Fish for Dinner”]: Nikon D700; Nikkor 28-300mm zoom at 32mm with VR engaged; ISO 200, f/6.3, 1/40 sec.)

(Second image [“Fresh Caught”]: Same camera and lens at 62mm; ISO 200, f/5, 1/60 sec.)