KOCHI: As traditional fishermen shared their knowledge about ocean, fish, winds and clouds that they acquired over generations, fisheries scientists and students sat glued to their seats listening to the indigenous lessons on marine fishery during a session at KUFOS held in connection with the World Fisheries Day celebrations.
Just by feeling the direction of the wind and the position of the clouds, they can tell whether it would rain or not, fisherfolk claimed, standing by their traditional wisdom. The colour of the horizon and particular constellation of stars called ‘Meenkani’ can show them where exactly to fish for a good catch. The sharing of indigenous knowledge on ocean and fish by eighteen fishermen turned out to be an interesting session for the participants, most of them students.
Sreekanth Kaipaparambil, a traditional fisherman hailing from Vallarpadam, said that they can foresee rain by observing the nature of clouds and direction of the wind. “The chances of rain are high if there is a ‘Dhennikkattu’, wind that blows from the south-east to the north-west direction.
There will be no rain despite the presence of clouds if the wind is blowing form north to south,” he said. Timing is very important to land a good catch. “Thakkam, 12 days after Ekadashi, is a crucial period during which fishermen usually operate a stake net (commonly called ‘oonnivala’) to get a good catch,” Sreekanth explained.
“Ashtami day, the middle day of two moons (vavu) is the ideal time to have good yields of varieties of perch like snappers and gropers (Chembally and Kadal karuppu),” said V T Sebastian from Chellanam.
For traditional fishermen, the colour of the sea and sky also give key information on the availability of fish. “The reddish hue seen in the horizon on certain evenings is believed to signal the presence of mackerel,” he said.
“The red water phenomenon covering wide areas and drifting along with the currents due to the intensive multiplying of certain micro algae portends fish kill. On such occasions, we avoid fishing in such areas,” Sreekanth said.
Karthikeyan P K, district secretary of Dheevara Sabha, explained the operation of the simple traditional gears like ‘Padal’ and ‘Njerumbu’ and also about the harvesting process called ‘Kettukalakku’.
The fishers also stressed the need to preserve the traditional knowledge in fisheries to improve the sustainability of the sector.