Monsoon season a windfall for trawl net mender


KOTA BHARU – The monsoon is never good news for most fishermen whose source of income depends on the sea, as it is dangerous for them to continue with their fishing activities during the Northeast Monsoon season.

For Mat Yeh Mamat, 62, of Kampung Pulau Gajah, Sabak, Pengkalan Chepa, near here, the monsoon season is the time he takes a new vocation, from a fisherman to a trawl net mender and patcher.

It is the time of the year when he is most sought after for his skills in mending and patching trawl nets, which is what he has been doing since the past 10 years to ensure his family would continue to have food on the table, even during the monsoon season, when he could not go out to the sea.

Mat Yeh said he learned the skill from his late father.

“The monsoon season should not be made an excuse by fishermen to while away the time doing nothing because it is dangerous to go out to the sea. As for me, the monsoon season allows me time to earn a living mending and patching fishing nets,” he added.

The father of two children, aged  17 and 24, said not many people dared to take up the job as mending and patching the fishing nets can only be done by the truly skilled to produce quality nets.

“To produce a trawl net takes six to 10 days and due to my age, I can only spend about six hours a day to sew, mend and patch the fishing nets,” he said, adding that he was able to earn RM1,000 a month doing that.

Mat Yeh said he normally received orders for drift net, which is used to catch fish species like kembung, selar, bawal and kerisi, and prawn net.

“My customers will normally get or buy the items needed. They only pay me for the work done, and the charge is RM50 per net, depending on the type of the nets they ordered for,” he added.

One of his customers, Ahmad Firus Juhari, 30, said he would only send his fishing nets to Mat Yeh for mending .

“He (Mat Yeh) is very meticulous with his work,” he added.