Pollution and overfishing damaging the villages of fisher(wo)men in Gujarat (India)

Sunday, 8 December 2013

From chapter 4 of the book “Elegance and Dignity – Stories from India”

This is another Indian story, extracted from my book “Elegance and Dignity”, that connects tradition with modernity, but not in agricultural areas rather in the sea. These fishing villages of Gujarat, where the whole community receives sustenance from fishing, are seriously threatened by the invasion of foreign ships that make large industrial fishing. The number of species and quantity of fish are in drastic decline since several years. The community depends on this activity: as narrated by the images the men go to sea with boats often no bigger than a lifeboat, women take care of the drying process.

Once again there is an aesthetic, which also contains the goodness of these simple lifestyles. It is an hard work but very decent. The community participates in solidarity and women portrayed here have serene faces and keep goofing around while they work.

The pollution of the sea, along with overfishing are, not so slowly, impoverishing these villages of their only resource. The repercussions are also at a social level, many young people are forced to emigrate. They can not get married, families slowly disperse. Some of them will go to work as cheap laborers in various industries of Gujarat, some to sites like Alang. Children, like many others I portrayed in different parts of India, already have a strenuous work to accomplish inside the community of fishermen, in this village it is the drying of fishes, while the men are at sea.
Overfishing, destructive and unsustainable fishing practices are some of the main causes of the collapse of fish populations: gigantic ships using km-wide nets and machines that literally exhaust entire shoals of fish. These industrial fishing extinguishes a species at a time, then turning to the next species.
Rising temperatures and ocean acidification are two threats to ocean life resulting from industrial development, with increased levels of carbon dioxide as a result of reliance on fossil fuels.
The pollution is widespread in all the oceans. All types of pollutants generated are degrading the marine environment, not just those emitted by factories, but as well by pesticides and nutrients from agriculture, as well as sewage, plastics, toxic chemicals and oils derived from discharges, even from radioactive nuclear power plants, located near the coast.
Along with the environment, all eco-friendly traditional fishing communities are losing the ability to self-sustain. They ere increasingly turning to small fish species, such as the photos and the fishermen of Jafrabat refer.


©2013 Marco Palladino – All rights reserved



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