>Travel Pictures


Kerala - Fishermen

Fort Kochi - Kathakali dance - Backwaters - Alleppey - Ferry Ride - Varkala - Kovalam - Fishermen - Trivandrum
As we made our way through Kerala, we quite naturally came across fishermen all over the state. With many great beaches and a long coastline, much of the food came from the sea. This page incorporates views of fishermen from all during our trip just doing their thing.

The fishing trip typically starts off with a rough boat ride, as most of the fishermen in the region use nets dropped from the side of a vessel.

The nets and the boats can be seen everywhere up and down the waterways

Some of the fishermen still used the traditional Chinese fishing nets (such as these in Fort Kochi) that are as much a symbol of Kerala as anything else.

But like so many 'folk' habits, the use of these is slowly but surely dying out. Faced with stiff competition from the ships as well as a dwindling fish population near the shore (not to mention the effects of all the pollution and human waste in the water), the Christmas tsunami permanently changed the shoreline and water patterns, dooming the anchored nets. Today they are used more as tourist attractions than as reliable suppliers of fish, but they still dip their nets in every day at high tide...

The fishermen in their boats have full days. Below, they leave early in the morning, to go out to their favorite spot and set their net (right).

 When they are ready to bring in the net, they slap the water with their hand or a big stick (below), hoping to drive the fish into the net for the ride home (below, right).

The fishermen on the Kovalam beach have a different technique.

Their nets are spread out (by boat) at either end of the beach, and then the whole crew works on dragging the heavy nets (made heavier by all the fish, hopefully) onto the shore.

The crew was out there every morning we were in Kovalam, and we watched the two groups get closer and closer. Eventually swimmers went into the water to slap the surface and drive fish into the nets. The excitement mounted as the 'rope' end of the net came in and we got closer to the 'mesh' end.

While some pulled, others organized and rolled up the nets so they would be fresh and ready to use the next day. 

The cooperative work, while others spread out the nets further down the beach, strained their muscles for about two straight hours.

Men of all ages worked together, hauling in the catch.

Unfortunately for the fishermen, on both mornings we walked down to see them, their nets were empty. Hassan (above, right) told me that this literally meant "no money" for the day, as their wages depend on having fish to sell to the hotels along the beach. 

But, judging by the number of people who were working on the nets every day, there are enough "good money" catches to make it a worthwhile living. Even as the old nets come in, the next days' are being transferred out to the boat...

And what happens with the fish that are caught? Well, in Kovalam, women bring the catch to the hotels to sell them, while street traders hawk their wares next to the pottery stand in Alleppey.
Another street vendor has quite the assortment in Fort Kochi, and the fruits of all that labor are on display in front of a Varkala restaurant.

And even when the fishing itself is done, the fishermen have more work to take care of. They need to constantly make new rope for their nets, untangle and repair the nets themselves, and make sure their boats are in tip top shape.

as the sun sets over the fishing nets, the Kerala fishermen too return home, tired from a full day of bringing in the catch.

Fort Kochi - Kathakali dance - Backwaters - Alleppey - Ferry Ride - Varkala - Kovalam - Fishermen - Trivandrum

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