We made our way back to Tanjung Luar fish market again the following morning with Peter this time and we were in for some shocking finds this time.
We got to the market at about 5.45am and saw the trucks unloading styrofoam ice boxes of catches from the day before, for sale. We stood at the harbour for a while waiting to see the catch for the day and it wasn’t before long that a handful of baby hammerhead sharks were brought it, much disturbing to see the local women holding them by their heads to be brought into the market though…
A boat with dolphin pictures painted on it caught my attention. It docked for a while but no crew was emerging from it, nor was anything being unloaded for the next half an hour or so. As I sat down with a fishermen to get information about his life as a boat crew for a shark boat, we started to see big black carcasses being removed from the hull of the dolphin boat but not being unloaded. Agus said it was dolphins that they had in their boat and I was horrified. I had heard about the stringent laws against catching of lumba-lumbas (dolphins) several times when I had come to Tanjung Luar before and had thought it was in place already yet today we saw the dead dolphins for ourselves, rising from a black market demand for them. The boat moved away from the harbour as they saw us nearing with our cameras and started unloading them unto a smaller boat discreetly from a distance. As the small boat docked behind the harbour and were being unloaded, we saw them trying to hide the 5 dolphin (Long Beaked Common Dolphin species) carcasses in between what looked like square furnaces extending from the ground. It was a grim moment for us all as we stood by to capture the images but with sinking hearts, no less.
More baby scalloped baby hammerhead sharks were also seen and looking at the increasingly smaller sizes of the sharks being caught at Tanjung Luar, it really feels like time is running out despite the CITES ruling against all species of hammerhead sharks being caught.