Central Vietnam commune enters beltfish season

Central Vietnam commune enters beltfish season - VnExpress International

These days, hundreds of fishing boats in Tam Thanh Commune, Tam Ky Town of Quang Nam come ashore with nets full of beltfish.

"Every day, we sail out from 2 a.m. to 10 a.m, using large fishing nets to catch these fish," said Nguyen Van Thinh, a fisherman in Tinh Thuy Village.

At noon, Thinh and his son remove hundreds of beltfish caught in their net.

Central Vietnam commune enters beltfish season - VnExpress International

According to locals, the largehead hairtail, or beltfish, often migrate in groups, drawing closer to shore at the start of the lunar year.

"This year, the weather is favorable following Tet (Lunar New Year holiday), so the sea is peaceful and most boats can catch beltfish," Thinh said.

Central Vietnam commune enters beltfish season - VnExpress International

The scale-less body of a beltfish is 60 to 90 centimeters long. Its head is pointy and eyes large. The mouth is wide and contains many large and small pointy teeth. This fish is thin, low in meat but delicious.

Central Vietnam commune enters beltfish season - VnExpress International

Nguyen Hien in Tinh Thuy Village sorts his catch to bring home. He sells the big fish fresh and dries the smaller ones.

"The price for a small fish is VND20,000 ($0.9) and a big one, VND60,000," he said.

Central Vietnam commune enters beltfish season - VnExpress International

Fisherman Nguyen Van Khu, 52, uses a knife to gut a beltfish.

"In recent days, the number of fish caught has been so high we couldn't sell them all. The surplus is dried instead," Khu said.

Central Vietnam commune enters beltfish season - VnExpress International

Before drying, the fish is washed clean in fresh water. "When the fish is cleaned, it will be delicious and can be preserved for a long time," Khu said.

Central Vietnam commune enters beltfish season - VnExpress International

The fish are hung along a rope to dry.

Central Vietnam commune enters beltfish season - VnExpress International

After half a day, villagers tie the tails together to hang the fish head down, thereby helping the fish dry quicker.

The fish head is harder to dry, so people spread them out to expose them to the sunlight.

Central Vietnam commune enters beltfish season - VnExpress International

These days, dried beltfish can be seen everywhere in Tam Thanh Commune.

Central Vietnam commune enters beltfish season - VnExpress International

After four to five days of drying, the fish are ready to sell. Three kilograms of fresh fish can yield one kilogram of dried fish.

The price for dried fish ranges from VND70,000 to VND200,000 per kilogram. Dried fish can be added to grilled or braised dishes.

Central Vietnam commune enters beltfish season - VnExpress International

Tam Thanh is a coastal commune operating nearly 200 small-capacity fishing vessels along the shore.

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