Monday, 06 March 2017 09:26

Safe Harbour: Coastal Fishing In Karnataka

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Like most people from Bengal, Fish is something close to my heart or stomach for that matter. But have you ever thought what goes on from when a fish is caught till it appears in your local market? A lot actually, as I found out during some of my visits to the Malabar coast, more specifically the South Karnataka coast.

This stretch of the Arabian Sea coast is rich in marine life. From time immemorial people of this region have been venturing out into the sea and bringing back a rich haul of fish, Sardines and Mackerels being the most popular variety.

The coast is dotted with small to large fishing harbours, usually situated in river estuaries. These harbours also double up as fish auction houses where each morning traders converge to buy huge lots in open auctions. The fish is then packed in iced crates and transported to distant places. These harbours are interesting places buzzing with activities. and people from different parts of India, speaking in different languages all at the same time. Retail stalls are also set up on the harbour itself where locals can buy the fresh catch in small quantities.

However, all these changes in the non-fishing season. From the beginning of June till the middle of August, none of the mechanised fishing vessels are allowed to venture out to the sea. This is when a different set of people have the busiest time of the season. These are the people who repair the boats or the ones who make the nets.

Time to get the nets ready.

The haul has come in, it is time to unload.

From the trawler to the crates.

Sorting stalls, according to type and size.

The ice and the crates, getting ready for the long haul transportation.

Local buyers like the one here get the first preference.

King Fish, the king of all fishes on display.

Crabs too are a popular catch.

When there is fish, can the cat be far away?

Early mornings are busy time at the auction hall.

Fish traders do their maths after the auction.

Onto the ice crate.

Sorted, sold, packed and ready to go.

As the fishing embargo sets in, it is time to knit new nets for the next season.

Dry season for fishing is time for the dry docks

Trawlers being repaired in the shipping yard.

A large trawler being hauled in to the dry dock.