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Fishing in the Arabian Sea with a Keralan fisherman

Kerala Strand

Kerala Beach

Marari beach in Kerala, located between Allepey and Kochi is probably one of the most pristine and beautiful beaches of Kerala. Only a few exclusive beach resorts and a few small homestays are available for tourists here, so that the beach is still characterized by the locals and the surrounding area mainly by small fishing villages. Restaurants and beach activities are searched in vain here, but one can get a very authentic insight into the simple life of the fishermen and their families!

While women run the household, 95% of the men are fishermen. Every day they go out once or twice either on smaller boats, or on tiny foam panels on which the plastic has been clamped. The panels are barely 1 1/2 meters wide and maybe 2 meters wide and offer just enough space for the fisherman and his net.

The main fishing season here is July and August, but the rest of the year is also fished, even if the catch with a few shrimps and small fish is rather tranquil. A good catch can bring up to 1000 rupees (approx. 15 €). Often, however, fishermen earn no more than 200 to 500 rupees. Every day the fish in the form of fish curry ends up on the plates of the families!

Kerala Strand

A big catch

During my stay at Marari beach I had the unique opportunity to go out and fish with a very well-heeled local fisherman.

While I was sitting in the back of the 250-metre-long, wrapped net (the nets can be up to 2000 metres long), my fisherman sat in front of me and paddled out to sea quickly with even movements.

After about a kilometer we stopped. We swapped seats and I was supposed to paddle slowly forward as he threw the net into the sea.

My fisherman did not speak English, but we managed to communicate and I felt very safe with him at our “small boat”. After the net was in the sea, we had to wait. He used the time to set up another smaller net to collect our catch.

I didn’t have much expectation in our fishing and enjoyed having this unique experience here anyway! I got to know the very traditional Keralan fishing!

I was all the more surprised that we actually had some shrimps and some fish in the net!

It took us forever to pull out the 250-metre-long net and the process turned out to be hard work. I was also able to help pulling the net in and was very happy about every other shrimp that was in the net! I didn’t even know they were caught like that! A few of them also jumped out of the net again when we weren’t paying attention, others twirled me in the fingers!
After the whole net was back in the boat, we paddled alternately back to the beach, where we were already expected by other fishermen.

I was already a bit proud of my fisherman. Who would have thought that we actually had something in the net!

Kerala Strand

Me with my fisherman

On a tarpaulin, the net was neatly spread out and rolled up to free the catch from the net. In total we had caught 100 shrimps and about 5 small fishes in the last 2 hours, a meal for a family!

For me a lot, but for a fisherman this catch brings only 75 rupees on the market!