Wednesday, 9 September 2015
Goa Beach in India - Watching Goan Fishermen JK1231
As Goa in India is endowed with a long coastline, the life of Goans have long been closely intertwined with the riches from the Arabian Sea. Goan curry fish is commonly eaten at home and at restaurants with rice, naan or chapati.
The chunks of fresh juicy fish submerged in an orangey red curry of aromatic and flavoursome hot spices held together with creamy coconut milk. I can have this every day with simple boiled rice and be blissfully happy.
Another popular Goan fish speciality is this fried Kingfish (a type of Barracuda fish). The fish cut into thin steaks are battered with semolina flour and spices, and then deep fried. The aromatic outside is crispy with a savoury and mildly spicy taste while the fish is still moist, tender and sweet inside. I always helped myself to a few pieces of this fried Kingfish whenever it is served :-D
We stayed a few nights at Dona Slyvia Beach Resort which is one of the many sprawling seaside resorts all along the sandy Goan coast. At 20 kilometres long, Goa has the longest stretch of white sand in India. Our chalets were just steps from the Arabian Sea down this red gravel path lined with coconut palms.
As a food lover, it turned out that for me, one of the highlights of staying in Dona Sylvia Beach Resort by the famous Cavelossim Beach, was the opportunity to watch Goan fishermen at work, the way it had been for centuries.
The traditional Goan fishermen work in groups sharing a wooden fishing boat and nets. The catch is divided equally between group members. Part of the catch is kept for own consumption while the rest is taken to the local market by womenfolk to sell for cash.
Every night at around 3:00am when it is still dark except for the moonlight, the boats launch from the sandy beaches to cast and set their nets in the Arabian Sea.
Just before daybreak, about 20 fishermen working together as a team heaved and pulled the giant net in towards the sandy beach.
The fishermen sang as they pulled the net together. The rhythm of the traditional songs help to co-ordinate the efforts of the fishermen.
Rolling in the catch of the day.
All kinds of sea creatures got caught in the net.
Today's catch of the day included two sea snakes, which deadly venom is among the most poisonous in the world.
Here comes the wicker baskets.
The men sorting the day's catch into baskets.
The fisherman held up a bigger fish with jubilance. But, the reality was I could count the number of such fish with the fingers on one hand.
Transferring fish from the net to the basket.
Fishermen's catch of the day.
There were also some crabs and prawns.
Three of the things that are thrown away - sea snakes, jelly fish and puffer fish.
While some of the men sorted the fish, the others started to pack up the net for the next day or casting.
The net was piled back onto the boat after a quick rinse in the rushing waves.
Today's catch was rather meagre - just 5 baskets of small fish, mostly smaller than the size and length of my palm. One of the fishermen told me that on their best days, they could net 200 baskets of fish but this rarely, if ever, happens nowadays.
The catch is getting smaller as the fish habitat is damaged by pollution and the giant commercial trawlers are sweeping up most of the fish further out at sea before they swim to the traditional fishing grounds.
This level of harvest is clearly not sustainable for the traditional fishing communities.
As I walked back to my comfortable room in Dona Sylvia Beach Resort, I can't help but wondered if this old Goan style of fishing and it's communities will still be around even just a few years down the road.
I hope the future generations will not see this traditional way of fishing only in paintings and photographs.
AirAsia AK 96 departs Kuala Lumpur KLIA2 for Goa at 8:30pm every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
AirAsia AK 97 departs Goa for KLIA2 at 10:55pm on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
Acknowledgement: My heartfelt thanks to Goa Department of Tourism and AirAsia for their generous hospitality.
Dates visited: 3 - 9 Sep 2015
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