With an extensive coastline and blessed with rich fisheries prospects, Karnataka is also known for its abundant sea-wealth. With a large fisherman community, it is but natural that fishing is a significant means of livelihood. Situated at Udyavara river mouth (or the Malpe river), Malpe lies 4 kms west of Udupi, Karnataka. Being a natural port, it is considered to be one of the most important and biggest port not just in Karnataka but in the entire country. Hundreds of boats anchored at any given time of the day, this fishing harbour caters to the fish requirements of the neighbouring states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu too. With mind-blowing varieties of this sea-wealth, a visit to this Malpe port/market should top the list of any traveller with a desire to discover a rich fishdom!
Strong smell of tons of fish, truckloads of ice, busy workers unloading the fresh fish catch from the boat, another worker pouring sea water on the fish lying in the open sun, a few porters take a break from their busy running around, ladies deftly throw across the segregated fish into the baskets where they belong, a flurry of activity at the auction corner, fishermen mending the nets in another place, sailors inspecting their boats for their next trip into the sea but at a distance other boats are arriving with tons of fresh catch from the sea one after the other and all the fish disappearing in a matter of minutes, a few boats stand close to each other anchored – continuous chaos, it has to be a fish market! Colourful and big crabs, lobsters in all sizes, squids, sharks, cuttlefish, sardines, prawns, mackerels, a variety of local fish – all in one place!! A Fishy Tale, from the sea to the table it’s served.
The work in this industry is equally divided among men and women. Venturing into deep sea and fishing is the domain of fishermen. The tons of fish that arrive at the port goes through the process of segregation as per different varieties. Segregation and weighing of the stock take place in the marketplace and this process is prominently handled by the women working in the port.