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Issue No:75
  • :January
  • :2017

Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.
—a Native American saying

India / MIGRANT FISHERS

Following Fish

Since the late 1980s, thousands of men from the coastal villages of Andhra Pradesh, India, have travelled to Gujarat to work as skippers and crew on board mechanized fishing boats


This article is by Manas Roshan (manas.roshan@gmail.com), independent researcher


On clear nights, when the fish are aplenty in the nets and he can take a break from steering, S Apparao thinks of his little house in Srikakulam on the northern coast of the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Two lamps, one in the cabin and another on the mast of his 15-m boat, Parshuram, light up a tiny circle of the sea as it rolls under him. The first time he’d been out to sea as a boy, fishing near Visakhapatnam in his home state, this gentle motion that now rocks him to sleep had nearly thrown him overboard; he’d been sick for several hours afterwards.

That day, he’d set out before dawn, and the sun had risen ahead of the boat. These days, he looks toward the land for the sunrise; on the small radio in the cabin, the voices of other fishermen in Marathi or Malayalam alert him to where he is on the Arabian Sea.

Since the late 1980s—when there were too many fishermen and too few fish in the water—thousands of men from Andhra Pradesh’s coastal districts of...

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