In Phu Quoc, Vietnam’s largest island, fishermen are occupied with selling the last catch of fresh seafood in the lead-up to Lunar New Year.
The Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang is not only well recognized for its breathtaking beach views and resorts but also for its bountiful supply of seafood. It has five major fishing ports with a total of around 10,000 fishing vessels over six meters long. Nearly half of those vessels are big enough for offshore fishing.
At 5:30 a.m., a fishing boat returns to An Thoi Port after operating off the coast for several days with fully loaded baskets. Wild-caught fish is preserved on ice in the hull and categorized prior to distribution.
Returning from a long journey out at sea, Huynh Van Minh shows off his huge catch with a wide smile.
Most fish species found here are tuna, barracuda, needlefish, mackerel, sea bream and anchovy.
Wholesalers from smaller fish markets flock here to source the best batches of seafood.
“Right after settling the deal, fish are transported as soon as possible because fish that have been stored in ice for a long time could be easily spoilt,” Nguyen Tuan, a deliveryman for restaurants in An Thoi said.
The last fish batch leaves the port at 7:00 a.m.
An Thoi fish market is crammed with fishmongers at 7:30 a.m. This is the second most crowded fish market in Phu Quoc City. Thirty kilometers from here is the most crowded one, Duong Dong Market.
One kilogram of large-sized shrimp (around six shrimp) costs VND350,000 ($15).
The fresh fish retail market offers customers a wide range of seafood choices.
Fishing vessels return in the early morning. The shortest fishing journey lasts four days while the longest may last for months.
During the storm and rainy season, boats and rafts move to find shelter. In the dry season, from October to March, they flock to the south of the island, near high-end resort areas.