Sariwang Dulong na Kinilaw. Prepared and Photographed by Eva Argenos.
Dulong is a term commonly used in the Philippines to describe a set of small fishes caught using fine-meshed nets (i.e., with a mesh size of less than 3 cm). There are studies that have identified dulong from Batangas province as post-larval to early juvenile stages of sardines and anchovies.
There are similar fisheries in other countries, and dulong is likely synonymous with “whitebait” in many other places, referring to immature fry of fish such as sardines and anchovies.
Fishermen catch dulong in the ocean nine days after the full moon. It has been said that they can adapt to freshwater if transferred out of their marine habitat.
Two types of fishing gear are used to catch dulong:
(1) boat-based scoop net (pasigabo) using lights to attract fry shoals
(2) modified beach seine (pukot), where a pouch made of a fine-mesh net is put out to sea by a small boat, and the ends pulled in from the beach.
The boat-based scoop net is the main fishing method. It uses two generator-powered halogen lights to attract the fry. Once the shoal of dulong is concentrated in the light beam, a V-type fine-mesh scoop net is used to haul the shoal from the water. Total crew of the boat-based scoop net can range from four to seven people.
Dulong can be prepared raw as in the featured photo. Tortang dulong (fish omelet / fried fish patties) is also a known delicacy in the province of Marinduque and is popular with Filipinos wherever the fish is sold.
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