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Nothing ‘fishy’ about the lockdown for Goans

Nothing ‘fishy’ about the lockdown for Goans

08 Apr 2020 No comment 33 hits

Lockdown or inflation, fish is essential for Goans… this can be witnessed at Baga, alike other sports where anglers, traditional fishermen and mechanised trawlers can be seen in action- early in the day and post dusk

Danuska Da Gama |

For a Goan fish eating population, their staple is a necessity; even if that means the prices have sky rocketed during the lockdown due to scare supply and increased demand. And though we don’t have our regular fisherman coming at the door step, there’s always a way of getting fish on our plate; whether a slice of king fish, or some ‘velleo’ or ‘kulleo’, as long as there’s the Arabian Sea and some avid anglers and traditional fishermen, there will be fish ‘somehow’.

At Baga beach after sunset, it’s a sight to behold- people are losing their patience staying indoors, but here, anglers spend hours with their fishing rod- patiently waiting for the fish to catch the bait. Mohan Satoskar from Baga was a known footballer during his days of reign having represented Goa at Nationals.

He enjoys fishing at Baga, of course as there’s no other choice. “If there was movement allowed I would have been fishing in Maharashtra as you get good fish there and it isn’t so hard to catch fish there. But the lockdown means I have to come here and fish,” he says managing to catch 2 medium sized snappers in about 30 minutes.

He says that patience is all one needs to become an angler and that this hobby can be used to get fresh fish on the plate at home. “Like this I know what I am eating and I am happy,” he says before adding that unlike his time as a youth, most youngsters don’t enjoy angling as a passion.

On the other side of the creek… on the shore, some traditional fishermen with their nets were busy trying to catch some fish. We crossed over the bridge and headed to make some conversation. A young lad Albert Gonsalves was with other male members of his family throwing the fishing net into the water after looking at waves and the tide.

The professional full time footballer and part time fisher man from Baga with Dempo SC initially hesitant to talk about fishing during lockdown opens up: “The government has done a good job by declaring a nationwide lockdown. We fishermen have in a way benefited from this lockdown. The beaches now bear a deserted look and it’s easier for us to catch fish without all the chaos and crowd.”

Though the few fishermen there could be seen away from each other (maintaining social distance), soon a mechanised trawler ventured into the sea with over 10 people in the boat not maintaining social distance.

Alberts dad, 64-year-old Eugine Gonsalves who says he’s been fishing ever since, points out that illegal fishing even during the lockdown is rampant. “Despite there being regulations in place we can see many non-Goan fishermen who carry out LED fishing. The government should do something about this,” he says before persisting that the government needs to encourage locals to take up to fishing and deter non-Goans who are exploiting Goa, the fish and the genuineness.

Now, also running tourist boats (shut during lockdown) to substantiate his income – due to many players in the fishing industry, Gonsalves stresses that if LED fishing wasn’t practiced, Goans would get a good catch. “Today, fish in Goa is expensive because most of the fish that is caught is exported outside the state; the rest makes it to our local markets,” he says.

“I am happy about the lockdown as, Goa has got its old charm back. Big trawlers have been affecting small fisherman. Today the fishing sector has more non-Goans than Goans in it. If there are 4 Goans on a boat there will be 25 non-Goans. Back in the day, we used to get a good catch but now we sometimes return with nothing or very little fish, “he says pointing towards boats that have returned with little catch.  

In the morning at sunrise, people, Goans and non Goans, across communities were seen waiting on the shore to buy their fresh catch. Rs 200 for 5 mackerals, Rs 300 for 25 ‘Velleo’ (silver fish) and likewise, the high price that morning didn’t stop people from buying fish. “The catch is less is very less as mechanised fishing with LED lights and the presence of Dolphins has resulted in less breeding and catch subsequently,” says Fatima Fernandes from Khobra Vaddo, Calangute.At Eugine watches people buying fish, he doesn’t get deterred as his traditional way of throwing the net get him fish to suffice for the family. However he says that, a fisherman never loses patience and though Baga has undergone change while he still makes it a point to spend nights sleeping on the shore sans cool breeze hitting him, but with a lot of mosquitoes unlike before, he tells us. “I have had vision or dreams three times before about the Goa beach being barren with no locals  or tourists , but I didn’t know it would be real,” he says that nature has a way of teaching people the hard way.

The post Nothing ‘fishy’ about the lockdown for Goans appeared first on The Navhind Times.

Source: Nothing ‘fishy’ about the lockdown for Goans

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