Hunting Season For ‘Tree Climbing Fish’ In Viet Nam
Thanh Hoa – Fishermen are on the quest for mudskippers, which not only swim and dive underwater, but also run, jump, and climb trees. One morning in mid-March, on the coastal mudflats and tiger forest, dozens of fishermen carried bamboo baskets, plastic cans, surfboards, fishing rods, traps… to capture them. the mudskipper (also known as whistle fish, squishy). This is a white goby fish that possesses both gills and lungs, making it one of the “weirdest fish on the earth.”
They may dwell in the water, the mud, or on land, and they can even climb trees to get food. Adults are 10-15 cm long, approximately the size of a finger. Mudfish dwell in marshes, estuaries, and muddy beaches at depths of little more than two meters. The tidal zone of Hau Loc district coastal communes such as Da Loc, Ngu Loc, Hai Loc, and Minh Loc are where this species is most common. Mosquitoes frequently dig 20-30 cm down into the mud to live, and each cave contains numerous fish. They will emerge from their tunnels to eat as the tide goes out.
Ms. Nguyen Thi Phuong (45, Da Loc commune, Hau Loc district) grabbed two fish at the same time by immediately burrowing down into the dark, mushy muck. She swam through the water to remove the little layer of muck that remained on the fish’s body, tossed it into the basket around her waist, and then peered around again. She went to the sea today at 9 a.m., and by noon, she had earned a basket back. Catching mudskippers involves skill and inventiveness, thus women are primarily active, with a few men and children participating when they are not in school.
According to Phuong, the “method” of collecting fish will begin with locating the fish and then digging in the muck. The fish raced out of the cave when they heard the ruckus and were captured in a basket. “Not only does it have to be technical, but it’s also quite tough to catch fish,” said Loan, a fisherman. “It’s not too difficult, but moving continually on the knee-deep mudflats and raking the mud is really difficult.” Fishermen cannot use gloves to catch mudskippers because they are tough to manage.
Without protective equipment, they may come into contact with crockery, sharp objects, or oyster or snail shells, resulting in skin rips and bl.ee.ding. Some people were also bitten by snakes or trod on dangerous shellfish unintentionally, but no one was killed. Mudfish hunting in Hau Loc has been around for a while, therefore there are plenty of qualified employees. Aside from experienced burrowers like Phuong, many hunters (mainly males) fish using fishing rods or traps.
Mr. Dang Van Quan, a mudfish hunter in Da Loc commune for more than 30 years, said he frequently created sharp clamps from bent bamboo stalks to capture fish. The trap is around 40 cm tall and has a rope tied at the bottom. He brought his traps and waded through the mud every day after breakfast to discover fish burrows to set. When the fish emerges to hunt for food, it will become entangled in the rope and fall into a trap. The worker then had to return and remove the “prize.”
Mr. Quan has more than a hundred mudfish traps. Every day, he searches for 5-7 hours, depending on the water (the tide rises and falls), and gathers about 2 kg of fish, with the winning dinner weighing more than 3 kg. Mr. Quan makes about half a million VND every day with a selling price of 180,000-200,000 VND per kilogram. Every year, the mussel season lasts from after the Lunar New Year through the fifth lunar month. Because fish grow and become very fatty around the end of spring, it is also the most effective period to hunt.
Locals frequently preserve, grill, and fry mudfish with aromatic and oily flesh in sour soup. People used to eat fish as a staple in their diets, but it is now considered a specialty. At a number of restaurants Traders mainly buy fish on the spot, with a few sold at local markets around the region. The fresh variety may be sold to China and Japan… Mudidae is a white gobie family found mostly in estuaries and tropical coastal places like India, Australia, or Southeast Asia such as Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam… Whistle fish are common in Thanh Hoa’s coastal districts of Hau Loc, Nga Son, Quang Xuong, and Nghi Son.