Saturday, 7 September 2013

Fish, fishing, seals and turtles

I recently had a talk with some foreigners who - like me - are coming to the Mani area for many, many years. The conversation after a while went to the above topic and so I thought that this would be also interesting to some of my readers:

In spring time I bought a small fishing boat and since then I also used it from time to time to go fishing but without a big success. Still I love my little boat as it also allows me to escape a little from the high season rush and go to places which I can reach much easier by boat - some places you can even reach only by boat.
I spend many hours on the water fishing, which is quite relaxing but also very exciting if  - after hours and hours, you finally catch a fish. I won't say that I am very professional in fishing but also not completely clueless...
However, this shows how hard it is nowadays to catch fish. Unfortunately for a lot of different reasons, there is not much fish anymore in the Mediterranean sea.

'Fokia' - Seals
One day early morning in July I went out with a fisherman from Agios Nikolaos.
The evening before he had to put his meshes in the sea and he left them there for the night. Then in the morning we went to get the nets up again. The whole procedure - from leaving the port till return - took about 3 hours.
I was quite excited, when I suddenly saw something not very far away from the boat. I first thought that it was dolphins, but Kostas explained me that it was seals! Unfortunately I had not the right zoom lens mounted on my camera, still I had the chance to make some pictures and after some digital improvement now everybody can clearly see the heads of two seals.

Kostas then started to lift his nets. I was waiting with my camera to take pictures from the fishes he will bring up so I was waiting. After a quite long while the first small fishes came up catched in the net. Then I saw some bigger things coming up. As soon as these things were on board I realised what it was: Only the heads of some bigger fishes still entangled in the net. Of course I asked Kostas what happened and he only replied sorely disappointed 'Fokia' - Seals.

I sit quite often in Agios Nikolaos and since follow the discussions of the fishermen. very often they are really angry because of the seals. Of course they also know that not the seals only are their problem, but the rivalry seems to be big.

Seals nowadays are protected by law. The punishment for doing something against them is very severe. I can not remember to have seen or heard about them in the older times. Probably due to new laws their population grows again...

Not many days ago when I went out with my boat I saw a huge, dead Turtle floating on the water. This turtle was found later on the coast. It turned out, that this turtle caught itself in lost fishing lines and died because of this (see article on Facebook). Since then I really think a lot about fish, fishing, seals and turtles...


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