Fishing in Sri Lanka on stilts

Unique fishing art of the people of the island.

The image of small men with solid faces and firm skin sitting firmly on stilts in front of the vast sea has become the subject of photographers when arriving in beautiful Sri Lanka.

In the sparkling sunset on the horizon, the simple stilts in the sea create a very beautiful and unique image. On the serene sea surface, stilts are firmly erected on the path around the sea border, creating ideal fishing spots. 4 pm, fishermen in Galle fishing village gather in this sea to prepare for fishing.

Fishermen in Kathaluwa began to use strong hands over strong winds and waves to reach their fishing site. The stilt tree is about 2m long. The fishermen sit on a cross bar called a petta attached to a vertical pillar plugged into the reef. They use one hand to cling to stilts and the other hand to fish in the hopes of catching herring or small tuna. Fish caught will be kept in a plastic bag tied tightly around the waist or around the pole.

Fishing on stilts is a long tradition of about 500 fishing families in West Sri Lanka, Galle District, especially around Kathaluwa and Ahangama. No one can tell you the exact source of this activity. According to some older fishermen, this type of fishing was created after the end of World War II. At that time, they sat on rocky outcrops to fish. They use iron bars left over from the World War and plug them into coral reefs. Then, as the iron bars began to become less and less rare, they turned to wooden bars and pillars that they found well suited to replace the rusted iron posts.

Others revealed that this interesting way of fishing was an idea that stole from fishermen in ancient times too poor to buy fishing boats. They devised a way of fishing on stilts and passed the technique from generation to generation.

Another explanation is that the local people here are concerned about the environment. They believe using nets will disturb the fish and they may not return to these waters for many years. So the local people wait patiently on their stilts until they catch the fish.

Up to now, fishing on stilts has become a beautiful image of the seas in Sri Lanka. Sitting on stilts in the middle of the water, immersing in the crimson sunset, the radiant face reflecting the surf and the towering coconut trees has created an outstanding and beautiful natural picture.

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