Kerala has earned a reputation for her unique culture, tongue-twister names like Kalaripayattu (a primeval form of martial arts) and Thiruvathirakali (an old dance form), as well as its stunning wetlands. Along her infamous backwaters and coastline, fishing (the ancient practice of catching limbless cold-blooded vertebrates with gills and fins, in the ocean wilderness) remains a prominent livelihood that has diversified in unique  ways over time. Road tripping in Kerala gave us the opportunity to see some of these first hand.

Laying down nets in Ashtamudi Lake © Nisha D'Souza
Laying down nets in Ashtamudi Lake © Nisha D’Souza

 

Traditional line fishing in the mangroves along the backwaters © Nisha D'Souza
Traditional line fishing in the mangroves along the backwaters © Nisha D’Souza

 

The Ashtamudi Lake dependent clam fishing industry is a popular livelihood for hundreds of fisherfolk © Nisha D'Souza
The Ashtamudi Lake-dependent clam-fishing industry is a popular livelihood for hundreds of fisher folk © Nisha D’Souza

 

An old man takes a break from tossing salt onto incoming catch to keep it fresh, at Neendakara fishing harbour © Nisha D'Souza
An old man takes a break from tossing salt onto incoming catch to keep it fresh, at Neendakara fishing harbour © Nisha D’Souza

 

A bowmouth guitarshark, accidentally caught in a gill net © Nisha D'Souza
A bow-mouth guitarshark, accidentally caught in a gill net, at Sakthikulangara fishing harbour © Nisha D’Souza

 

Puffer fish at Sakthikulangara fishing harbour © Nisha D'Souza
Puffer fish at Sakthikulangara fishing harbour © Nisha D’Souza

 

Women shell shrimp at Sakthikulangara fishing harbour © Nisha D'Souza
Women shell shrimp at Sakthikulangara fishing harbour. As well as being sold locally a large portion of the catch is imported within the Asia region © Nisha D’Souza

 

Men transfer fish from boats to market at Neendakara fishing harbour © Nisha D'Souza
Men transfer ribbon fish from trawlers to the market at Neendakara fishing harbour © Nisha D’Souza

 

Men transfer fish from boats to market at Neendakara fishing harbour © Nisha D'Souza
Men transfer sardines and mackeral from trawlers to the market at Neendakara fishing harbour © Nisha D’Souza

 

A fishing eagle keeps a keen eye on proceedings at the harbour below © Nisha D'Souza
A Brahmani kite keeps a keen eye on proceedings in the harbour below © Nisha D’Souza

 

In Ashtamudi lake, a variety of fishing gear is used from trawlers and gill nets, to Chinese dip nets and traditional fishing methods © Nisha D'Souza
In Ashtamudi lake, a variety of motorized fishing boats are used, from trawlers to specially fitted traditional canoes © Nisha D’Souza

 

Cast net fishing is common in the early hours in Ashtamudi Lake © Nisha D'Souza
Cast net fishing is common in the early hours, in Ashtamudi Lake © Nisha D’Souza

 

An overloaded clam fishers boat balances precariously on the calm waters © Nisha D'Souza
An overloaded clam-fishers boat balances precariously on the calm waters of Ashtamudi Lake © Nisha D’Souza

 

The Chinese dip nets are a common sights along Kerala's coastline © Nisha D'Souza
Chinese dip nets are a common sight along Kerala’s coastline © Nisha D’Souza

 

The Chinese dip nets are a common sights along Kerala's coastline © Nisha D'Souza
Chinese dip nets operate through a clever set of weights and pulleys © Nisha D’Souza

 

Hammerhead sharks are commonly caught in gill nets. The catch of juveniles gravely threatens the populations in India's waters © Nisha D'Souza
Hammerhead sharks are commonly caught in gill nets; the catch of juveniles gravely threatens shark populations in India’s waters © Nisha D’Souza

 

Hundreds of tonnes of sardines are caught weekly in Kerala © Nisha D'Souza
Hundreds of tonnes of sardines are caught weekly in Kerala, sold locally and regionally © Nisha D’Souza

4 Replies to “Kerala.”

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