Fishy finds.

At the crack of dawn, India’s coasts bustle with the madness that comes with pay day! Landing sites, fishing harbors, and coastal markets are flooded with a variety of marine creatures, soon after followed by an invasion of buyers and traders. These hubs of concentrated activity, whilst an assault on the senses, provide an excellent insight into the marine biodiversity in offshore waters. Around the highly productive coral islands on the Indian side of the Gulf of Mannar (Tamil Nadu), and within the  seagrass beds of the adjoining Palk Bay, an astounding number of species conduct their daily business. I spend a fair amount of time in fish markets as part of my field assignments, chatting with fisherfolk and sieving through clues for better conservation of species. I have lost two pairs of shoes to fish guts, been yelled at in no less than five different languages, accepted a bag of shrimp (free I assume since I wandered away with no consequences), slipped on a squid, misplaced an umbrella, and displayed highly surreptitious behavior when shown some illegally caught species sitting innocently in the back of a Maruti (incidentally, why is it always the Maruti that is used for covert operations that no decent being would approve of? They are rather conspicuous in their perceived inconspicuousness). Below is a peak into some fishy finds in the markets of coastal Tamil Nadu.

Coral fish including snappers, goatfish, puffer fish all end up the fishermen's nets © Nisha D'Souza

Coral fish including snappers, goatfish, puffer fish all end up the fishermen’s nets © Nisha D’Souza

All manner of marine creatures end up in nets © Nisha D'Souza

All manner of marine creatures end up in nets © Nisha D’Souza

A species of devil ray was also caught in nets © Nisha D'Souza

A species of devil ray was also caught in nets © Nisha D’Souza

Squid are popular amongst buyers © Nisha D'Souza

Squid are popular amongst buyers © Nisha D’Souza

Crabs are usually sold to seafood processors for export © Nisha D'Souza

Crabs are usually sold to seafood processors for export © Nisha D’Souza

Cuttlefish, even though masters at adaptive camouflage, cannot escape the nets © Nisha D'Souza

Cuttlefish, even though masters at adaptive camouflage, cannot escape the nets © Nisha D’Souza

Coral fish have interesting morphological adaptations © Nisha D'Souza

Coral fish have interesting morphological adaptations © Nisha D’Souza

Largehead hairtails, and ribbon fish are caught in large numbers © Nisha D'Souza

Largehead hairtails, and ribbon fish are caught in large numbers © Nisha D’Souza

 

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