KAPIT: A giant empurau from Baleh is being sold here for a whopping RM7,900.
Fish monger Ong Ee Ching, who trades in front of the Belaga jetty from 6am to 9.30am daily, said the 7.9kg fish would likely be sold to a buyer from outside Kapit.
He said this is because locals find empurau too expensive.
“This is a golden fish and only the rich and politicians will buy them as festive gifts. The buyers are usually from outside – Sibu, Kuching or Kuala Lumpur,” he said on Tuesday.
“Locals prefer ikan labang or ikan semah, which are more affordable.”
He explained that the best empurau come from Baleh River, as they tend to have the most tender flesh.
The price of empurau varies depending on weight.
For fish weighing 2kg and below, the price would be around RM400 per kg.
For empurau weighing 4kg and above, the market price ranges from RM900 to RM1,000 per kg.
Another factor is which river the fish was caught from – Rajang, Baleh, Katibas or Balui.
The most expensive would be those from Kapit to Pelagus along the Rajang River or Putai, Baleh River.
There are white and red empurau, which can be short or long and this also affects the flesh texture.
For Grade One Super AAA, which fetches the highest prices, the empurau are short with white flesh and weigh between 5kg and 8kg.
Ong also sells other freshwater fish such as tengadak, padi, mengalang and lajong.