INTRODUCTION In Thailand, shrimp fishing has become a growing export earner, as well as a means of survival for the fishermen themselves.
INTRODUCTION In Thailand, shrimp fishing has become a growing export earner, as well as a means of survival for the fishermen themselves. The value of the industry has now been recognised by the government, which has combined with local fishermen to take full advantage of its potential.
SYNOPSIS: Songkhla Lake in Southern Thailand is one of the main sources for the country's shrimp industry. The local people sell their catch to a nearby government hatching station for breeding purposes. They then collect a ready supply of baby shrimps which can be easily harvested when full grown.
About twelve hundred people, all Muslim Malays, live by the Lake and earn their living from it. Although it is one of the largest salt-water lakes in South East Asia, it is surprisingly shallow and at its deepest there is not more than ten feet of water. Various fish as well as shrimp can be caught here - the salt water at the seaward end becomes fresher further inland, and the lake is therefore a home for several different species.
The traditional fishing net is the most widely-used tool of the trade. The nets are either equipped with floats, or else hung between poles. Lake fishing is more economical than off-shore trawling, but harder work.
Life is simple in the lakeside fishing community. Although the women help to make and repair the nets, they mostly stick to cooking, babysitting and domestic chores. The children learn their future trade early simply by living with it. Even the smallest boys soon know how to bring in a day's catch.
Some of the lake people prefer deep sea fishing, but most are content with the quiet lake itself.