Doulomaloma’s fish tale

Picture: SOPHIE RALULU

FOR eight years Isikeli Doulomaloma has been selling fish at the fish market in Suva and being in the fishing business, one has to have the courage to persevere.

“Sa ka ga ni vosota na bisinisi qo (being in this business takes a lot of sacrifice),” Mr Doulomaloma said.

“What we earn fluctuates on a daily basis and it depends on how much fish the men catch out at sea.”

The Yadrana villager from Lakeba in Lau is at the market from as early as 5am every day to meet the fishermen who bring in their catch.

“Sometimes they get in at 6am or 7am because it depends on which waters they go and fish from.”

Mr Doulomaloma, 25, knows most of his customers prefer fish that are caught from Kadavu waters than anywhere else.

“Majority of my customers prefer to buy fish caught in the Kadavu waters because it has this sweet taste to it compared to fish caught in Gau, Koro, Nairai or even Vanua Levu waters,” Mr Doulomaloma said.

Luckily for Mr Doulomaloma, his family owns a boat that fishermen normally hire to go out and fish and they buy bundles of fish from them at a discount.

Just hearing Mr Doulomaloma talk about his business, one can easily tell how long he has been in the business and how well he understands his customers and their demands.

“Right now business is slow because majority of my customers are Indo-Fijians (Fijians of Indian descent and most of them are into a fasting phase now due to religious beliefs so fish sales is quite slow,” he said.

“Imagine if the iTaukei too had to fast, there would be no business at all.”

Mr Doulomaloma said the ban on certain fish such as kawakawa also affected his business but he had no choice but to follow the law or face a hefty fine.

“Yes, customers sometimes ask for kawakawa but I don’t sell it because it is banned. I would rather follow the law than face a hefty fine.”

Mr Doulomaloma buys fish from the fishermen in the morning for $25 a bundle and how much fish he sells depends on what is caught. He sells them to customers for the same price or more depending on the fish count in a bundle.

Mr Doulomaloma sells ulavi, sabutu, and ta which are the most common among his customers.

“I have survived in this business for eight years and I am sure this is what I will be doing in the next few years,” he said.

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