Maglin is a fisherwoman from the Vypeen island of Kochi, Kerala. She was in Bengaluru as a featured speaker at the recently-concluded ‘The Handmade – A National Symposium’, because “Fishing is manual work, and thus, is handmade.”
Maglin’s presence at the event was significant because the fishing community of the island is in the midst of a huge human rights struggle. Members of the community have been sitting on the beach of the island for the past 348 days to protest them being flushed out from the island.
These fisherwomen and fishermen possess some of the best skills in fishing. They use boats that are designed by them out into the sea and return with the day’s catch without using any motorboats. This skill has been traditionally passed on from generation to generation on the island.
In her talk, Maglin revealed that the traditional fisherwomen have been badly affected by the technology influx. “Most of the work is done by the fisherwomen once the men have caught and brought in the fish. This includes drying and vending the fish.” There are land issues to grapple with as well. “There is little space to live and the catch has become smaller these days, which is challenging.”
Weather unpredictability due to global warming is another huge issue to deal with. “There is no proper warning system in the coastal area for a tsunami or even high tides.” She mentioned that while developmental programmes are sanctioned, like the construction of ports, support systems which are more important are not being prioritised.
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Written by Aishwarya Hegde.