Monday, July 7, 2014

The old fish market prior to the first boom

The fish market is partly seen at left of the picture.  At the right is partly seen makeshift stalls offering coffee, fast food and cakes, even 'Satay' dish.  Picture illustrates the fish market front area in the late 60's to 70's i.e. Pre-Boom period.
 Bintulu has been well-known for fresh fishes since time immemorial.  During the pre-boom period, it has a very small fish market sited on the river bank as in the picture above.  At high tide the river water would clear all rubbish below the market.  It would mean also that if you drop your coins, it would be impossible to search for them.  The front part of the market have vegetable growers selling their cultivated vegetables and were mainly Chinese farmers .  Pass them towards the river would be the fish mongers.  A jetty extends the area of the fish market to the river and level of the low tide some 20 meters away.
The old fish market site has given way to new fish market (partly seen at left).  The new fish market complex housed both a wet and dry market and food stalls.  At right is the 'Tamu' or jungle produce market.
Picture taken on 6 July'14
Just at the beginning of the first boom, the old fish market was unable to cope with the rising demand for vegetables. For a good year or two during the first boom, vegetables were flown from Sabah to help meet the demand in Bintulu.  The government of the day decided to 'import' many vegetable farmers from Sarikei and other places in Sibu to settle at Sungai Plan to start the vegetable growing project in Bintulu on a big scale. This project site was called 'Market Gardening' project by the BDA or Bintulu Development Authority.  The produce of the market gardening project farmers were sold at the old fish market being its main retail center.  The project and the market was helpful to meet the demand for vegetables during the first boom period (1979-85)