About a 20 minute drive from Pontian Kechil and 80 km from Johor Bahru the state capital, lies a prosperous fishing village with a rising population of about 1,400 people. Taking the advantage of being at the southern most part of Malaysia, close to the open sea, 90% of the population are fishermen and occupy close to 180 houses built on stilts.
The Floating Fish Farm The first signs of the floating fish farms were seen in 1979. Proving to be a lucrative endeavor, over the years many more were set up and the number gradually rose to sixty eight in 1999. For a minimum fee of RM5 you can experience a five minute journey on an actual fishing boat to one of these farms complete with a guided tour.
Among the fishes bred here are codfish, archer fish and puffer fish. The codfish fetches a hefty RM40 a kg with an average fish weighing 10kg. Preying on insects hovering over the water the archer fish reveals it’s remarkable ability to accurately shoot them down with a squirt of water. One fish in particular caught the amazement of tourist, the puffer fish or ‘ikan buntal’ to locals. When rubbed on it’s tummy bloats up like a balloon.
Snacks such as dried cuttlefish sprinkled with sugar, salted fish, dried prawns, anchovies, fish biscuits and spicy seafood sauces can be bought on the farm relatively cheap and fresh from their harvest.
Most of the catch are exported to foreign countries such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan except for the small prawns which are exported to neighbouring states Penang and Melaka The main exports are jellyfish and small prawns.
Kukup Island and two more fishing villages, the 120 year old Air Masin and Kampung Melayu are situated close by. Pulau Kukup is an uninhabited island situated about
800 meters from the village. The locals don’t go there because it is infested with snakes and many other dangerous wild animals such as wild boars and monkeys. During the weekends, you can board a ferry to Singapore or for RM50 you can go to Indonesia and back. These ferry’s only operate from Fridays to Sundays.