I was riding my bike home late the other day up the malecon, and as I came up to the lighthouse, I noticed a bunch of guys out in the water with a big net. Now me being a fisherman myself, I had to stop and watch. I have seen people here catch fish with buckets and spears, but I have not seen any old style Maya net fishing yet. So got out my Iphone and went to watch.
They had a group of adults and kids, and they all were manning the net, and one older man was carrying a big bucket. Well I watched for about 45 minutes as they spread out the net, and then walked towards each other to close it, and trap the fish. The guy with the bucket went around and collected the fish.
It made me think of how things were done maybe 100 or 200 years ago, where Mayas collected fish in nets like this to live, and sustain themselves. I have read that back then the whole village would help bring in the catch, men, women, and children.
So here are some photos, so you can see for yourself, Maya net fishing for yourselves. I am also sure that other areas and islands have used this style of net fishing throughout history, so to me this is a bit of history right here in Mahahual.
Note: I met a woman, Odalis Castro, in Merida this past summer, and she majored in Maya Studies at the University there. She informed me that there is no such word as “Mayan”. It is Maya man, Maya woman, Maya art, Maya culture, Maya food, and so forth, the word “Mayan” is basically an “Americanized” word, according to her, so now I only use the word Maya in describing the Maya people or culture.
Thanks for reading,
Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina