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Life on the Fishing Line 

In the early 1950s, kelongs were numerous in Singapore waters. However, the increase in kelongs did not increase the size of the catch. In 1953, the government decided to freeze the number of kelongs found in Singapore. 1

In much later years, with development plans in the works, the kelongs also stood in the way of reclamation. To ease the pressures of resettlement, the government compensated evicted kelong owners the original cost of the nibong poles used to construct the kelongs. 2

The running of kelongs was not the only interesting feature in the work of the Primary Production Department. It was also concerned with the establishment of a plant for frozen fish fingers, use of guppies to control water pollution and fishing by means of dynamite.

* A kelong is a structure built from nibong posts driven into the seabed, without using any nails. Instead, the poles are held together using rattan (cane) binding.


1 Primary Production Dept/Fisheries Regulatory Services Section, File Reference F0102, “Fisheries Kelong Policies”, Microfilm No. MND 2323

2 Primary Production Dept/Fisheries Regulatory Services Section, File Reference F0102 Vol. 1, “Fisheries Kelong Policies”, Microfilm No. MND 2323