For 55-year-old Korthilamma , a fish vendor, an early evening trip every day from her house in Colachel in Tamil Nadu to the Vizhinjam fishing harbour is necessary for the next two months to earn a living.
“The heavy monsoon has made it impossible for our people to venture out into the sea in our region and hence we have to come all the way here to the harbour to buy fish,” she says. Rightly so, the harbour-cum-market is unusually crowded in the evenings. Fish vendors from Colachel to Anchuthengu are now frequenting the harbour to buy fish for sale.
“This side of the harbour is safe from the monsoon fury, and fishermen always get a good catch in this area. Hence people from the nearby areas also come here,” Paniyadi Ramesh, a fisherman from Vizhinjam, says.
With the trawling ban, they will have to depend on local sources to get fish. “Most of the people here own traditional boats and at this time, these fishermen are the only people who can provide fish for such vendors,” he says.
Though this is not a profitable business, many vendors from other areas are forced to continue this daily trip.
“Even if we stay here and try to sell them, it ends up in a quarrel. Why should I take all this trouble? So even if it is late evening, I travel back to the city and sell them. I often return late at night,” Soumya, who lives in Poovar, says.
This seasonal shifting of fishermen and fish vendors to the harbour, however, has been beneficial to the local shops at the harbour, for whom the three months are the most profitable season.
“They (fisherfolk) cannot live without their daily dose of betel leaves and tobacco and since people from many regions are coming here, this is the best season for us,” 47-year old Mary, who has put up a small pan shop close to the market, says.