BY AUGUSTO RODRIGUES
Catch-of-the-day fish has begun gracing dinner tables in homes and hotels in Goa after the sun decided to lull the monsoons waters into retreat for the last two days.
And, tourists are getting to witness the fishing culture of Goa on the beach.
Goan fishermen took their canoes out to sea on Saturday and Sunday and returned with bumper catches of a variety of fish, which were missing from tables in Goan homes thanks to a respite from fishing during the start of the monsoon.
“There is no ban on fishing with our canoes, but we do not venture out because the waters are always turbulent when it rains. But, once the sun comes out, the catch is bumper and sales are good because everyone yearns for the taste of fresh fish again,” says Clemente, as he pulls in the nets with his colleagues.
“We were unable to go out for about a week because of the weather warnings, but the last two days have been fantastic in terms of the weather and the catch,” claims a gleeful Perpet as she negotiates prices with customers who have come to Baga Beach from all parts of Calangute.
“I got nine big mackerels for Rs 200, and the price really does not matter today, because I am taking this fresh catch for the first time since the start of the monsoon,” smiles Ignatius as he starts his motorcycle.
As boys working with Perpet start separating the catch and putting them in separate baskets, the hundreds of tourists gathered on Baga Beach can be seen splashing in the waters while lifeguards send out warning blasts of whistles.
“There has been a sudden rush after the rains stopped two days back, but most of the tourists have either come by bus, hired bikes or rent-a-cabs, and there is hardly any business for us,” says taxi driver Clemente, as he awaits business.
“The word of our catch has spread fast, and most of this catch will be sold out here itself. I am selling a basket of around three hundred big mackerels for Rs 5000 and the prawns for Rs 500 a kilogram,” confesses Perpet, as she cajoles the boys working with her to quickly empty the canoe of the catch.
“We left early in the morning to place the katai (style of fishing where the nets are placed in the water and removed after a few hours) and returned just a while ago. It is a good catch at a time when most are dying to eat fish from the sea,” admits Nicola who skippered the canoe.
As people reach the beach with bikes and vehicles to take home fish from the catch, Baga Beach seems to be alive with the screams of joy and laughter of tourists who returned to the sea after being kept indoors by the rain.
“The beach looks all unsettled with the rains of the last day, but we have come out today to have a meal out. It feels much fresher in Goa when it rains and is very soothing to the eyes,” says Nisha, as she has a look at the catch of the day.
“Fish is pretty cheap,” she says on inquiring about the prices.
“Lady fish, baby kingfish, mackerels and prawns are normally caught when we go out fishing with our canoes during this time of the season,” says Florence as he oversees workers preparing his boat to cast nets out at sea.
With the fishing ban lifted on August 1, the days of fresh fish are back.