Harvest From The Sea

May 19, 2009 by  
Filed under Living & Lifestyle


Jellyfish are considered a delicacy in Asian countries, a popular food item for the Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Malaysian and not forgetting the Thais. With  careful preparation, it can be served raw or cooked. After harvesting from the sea, processing involves salting and drying for a number of days, before being serve as a main or side ingredients in popular Asian food dishes such as the Japanese sushi and Malaysian rojak. Shredded jellyfish is serve as a favourite cold dish during a Chinese wedding party.


By Chutima Sidasathian
Tuesday, March 24, 2009

JELLYFISH are enjoying the seas off the Andaman coast much more this season. This would normally be a pleasing aberration for jellyfish seller Anon Lanpet, if not for too many other people. But with prices of the Asian delicacy down to barely a quarter of previous seasons, the pudgy stingers are best left to drift, he says. Khun Anon has been running his edible jellyfish export business for three years. Sales have been good. But this year, with the world economy dipping downwards, orders from China, Korea, Malaysia, Japan have dropped, he says. The slowdown in demand combined with an unusually high number of the ‘lobonema smithii mayer 1910’ jellyfish along the Andaman coast has caused prices to drop to 2.5 to 5 baht per jellyfish. Last year, each good-sized, squidgy edible jellie could fetch 10 to 13 baht. Phuketwan caught up with Khun Anon in Klong Tom, Krabi, where he happened to be working. But his operation is mobile, set up on beaches along the west coast provinces. He moves to where the jellies are most plentiful. A jellyfish man from way back, he says there are not many people in the jellyfish business. It requires a substantial investment up-front. Khun Anon has arrangements with buyers in China who give him an advance of 80,000-100,000 baht to buy jellyfish from the fishermen who catch them in nets thrown from their boats. Each catch is hauled to shore and processed right on the beach. Each jellyfish is cut, cleaned and put in a sauce for seven days. Then it is packaged and sent overseas. All of his sea-grown harvest is exported, he says. Khun Anon hires temporary staff to prepare the jellyfish at the same beach where he buys them off the fishermen, paying 30 baht an hour. Workers concentrating on jellyfish do the processing in eight-hour shifts. Another kind of edible jellyfish, ‘rhopilema hispidum vanhoffen 1888’, is plentiful in the Andaman, too. But Khun Anon does not buy them because they are difficult to clean. To prepare them for human consumption takes 15 hours; just not worth the effort at current price levels, he says. ‘Lobonema smithii mayer 1910’ are known to deliver a powerful sting. They are quite unlike the jellyfish that turned up in large numbers on Phuket’s west coast in January, which have stings that are considered harmless. A variety of jellyfish plus salps and comb jellies, creatures that look similar to jellyfish, have been spotted around Phi Phi and Raya islands, in the Phuket region, recently. On Phuket, where research into the increasing sightings of jellyfish of all kinds is continuing, interest now centres on the three-day seminar from April 1 where some of the mysteries of the outbreaks should be explained. Of greatest concern is the dangerous and potentially deadly box jellyfish, now identified as coming in three species, two of them at one particular bay on Phuket’s east coast. Australian delegates will join the seminar and report first-hand what steps can be taken to accurately assess the scale of the problem. There is also a public seminar being planned for April 4, at Le Meridien Phuket, not far from Patong. Meanwhile, Khun Anon is looking for alternative markets.


Jellyfish farm in Thailand

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