What’s in peak season for March in Sarawak? Bubok!

Shrimpers unloading a container of bubok as they return from sea.

By Brad Rantayy

MIRI, March 18: Shrimpers have returned to work as Sarawak’s favourite local seafood “bubok” or krill shrimp season is back.

It is at this time of the year that the most sought-after baby shrimp season hits its peak, giving shrimpers and sellers the opportunity to make extra earnings with good harvest while everyone gets to enjoy this delicious fresh local shrimps.

Local shrimpers, fishermen and sellers have been in the industry for the longest time but of late, they have faced growing challenges and no doubt they too have been badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and various stages of Movement Control Order (MCO) enforced in Sarawak.

Despite the obstacles and being shrouded with uncertainties throughout the whole of last year, this new bubok season definitely brings huge relief and hope for a bountiful catch.

With the bubok season normally starts in February and ends in April, the season’s peak occurs in March and provided the good weather, shrimpers can harvest more than five big buckets of bubok upon returning from sea each time.

Suhairdi (left) and Haslan at their hut where a net is being dried out.

In Miri here, Lutong Beach is one of the hot spots where mountains of bubok can be found at stalls along the area.

While strolling along the beach, DayakDaily writer spotted 40-year-old Suhardi Ramli and his buddy Haslan Rosli, 37, inside a hut busy storing their boat and fishing nets.

The duo had just returned from the sea with their bubok catches.

Unfortunately due to the bad weather, they only managed to haul a tray of bubok that day.

“When the catch is plenty, we can earn about RM600 per day but it all depends on the weather,” Suhairdi shared.

Suhardi, who learnt how to catch bubok from his father when he was a teenager, added that catching bubok was no easy task but a labour of love for fishermen.

“It’s a challenging task and needs a lot of hard work.

“There are two types of techniques, either using a boat with scoop net or ‘pakak’ being placed in front of the boat, or net them in the shallow waters,” he explained.

Haslan added: “Most of the time, we need both luck and skills to catch bubok.” — DayakDaily

Shrimpers netting bubok in shallow waters.
Fresh pinkish bubok being poured into a container.
A mountain of bubok at a stall at Lutong Beach.