iWitness Photography

Peter Lopeman

Loading ice onto fishing boats, Borneo

Fish forms a very important part of the diet in Sabah, and the fishing quay in Kota Kinabalu serves a wide market in northern Borneo. Mainly Phillipino-crewed fishing boats land their catch at the cramped but extremely busy quayside. Under an extremely hot sun at midday the emptied boats are refilled with ice ready for the next journey into the offshore waters. The men work quickly and efficiently, carrying heavy bags of ice blocks onto the waiting boats. With the sun at its highest, they often improvise protective headgear to protect themselves from the heat, using t-shirts wrapped around their heads. Apart from the obvious market for the wide varieties of fish and seafood in the neighbouring fish market and restaurants, there is a healthy appetite for sea fish further inland. Trucks laden with the iced fish head to towns in the north for either markets or processing plants.