By Hasan Khan

A fisherman is seen busy separating the fish from the net after he had managed to fish a few crabs at the sea.

Traveling on the Makran Coastal Highway, one is drawn by the scenic and striking views on the way. One of such points is Kund Malir which has become famous for its attractive and clean beach.

Located near Kund Malir is a vibrant local fish market which provides a window to an outsider what life looks like in the coastal area.

The fish market is catering to the growing appetite for crabs locally as well as internationally and providing livelihood to the fishermen and their community.

A makeshift fish market on the beach where fishermen sell the crabs.

Overlooking sea tides, a makeshift market appears where some fishermen could be seen gearing up for fishing while some sorting out the nets. Negotiating with high tides of the Arabian Sea that is not so kind to them as monsoon is approaching.

Though December to March is the peak fishing season according to the local fishermen, still they say they had no option but to fish even at this time of the season, when the sea gets wayward at times, to support themselves and their families.

One of the fishermen told this scribe that it was hard to find a fully-grown crab of 15 to 20 cm length these days which is sold at a higher price.

With a grayish green carapace, it is also known as three spot crab as it has three spots on the back.

The fisherman explained that they sell large crabs Rs 140 per kilogram at the local market, adding, “Still worth it.” The same large crab around 300 grams is sold more than Rs 300 per piece in the Karachi’s fish market. A crab with 50 to 60 grams is even cheaper at the local market: “We sell a kilogram of small crab for Rs 50,” he said in a sober tone.

Muhammad Moazzam Khan, a technical advisor World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Pakistan told PakVoices that the crab has a very short lifespan of almost a year adding there is no law in the province of Balochistan to restrict the fishing of crabs of all sizes.

“The fishermen use the nets that capture the crabs even with 50 grams.”

He added, “It will be harsh with the fishermen if they are stopped from fishing small crabs without providing them the right kind of fishing nets.”

PakVoices captured some striking images showing the daily struggles of the fishermen, their navigation of the high tides and the patience to let the sea calm down so they can fish the prized crab:

 

It is one of the few large crabs that sells well in the market offering a better return to the fishermen.

 

As it’s getting harder to negotiate with the high tides of the water, these fishermen are sitting idle waiting for quiet sea.

 

There is no proper waste disposal system in place at this small fish market which is causing environmental degradation on the clean beach.

 

These fishermen are about to launch their boat but waiting for the right wave which can keep them afloat. Due to turbulent sea, they watch for the calm moment when they could negotiate with the rising waves.

 

Fishing is a major source of livelihood for the fishermen living along the coastal line of Balochistan.

 

Fully-grown crabs and small ones are being separated after being netted by the fishermen.

 

The price depends on the size and weight of the crab.

 

A crab that is not fully developed such as this one is sold as cheap as Rs 50 kilogram.

 

Author Bio: Hasan Khan is the editor at PakVoices, leading the initiative of community media for transparency and good governance. In the past, he has worked with the mainstream media such as Geo News and Samaa TV as a reporter in Islamabad. He has also reported on the last US election for CNNPolitics.com, profiling American Muslims in Washington DC. In 2015-2016, he was selected as a Fulbright fellow and placed at the University of Maryland where he studied digital media and mobile journalism exploring the intersection of journalism and technology.

All photos by the author.

 

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