As I alluded to in my last post, I went out with the fisherman the next morning to help him pull in nets. It turns out he and his hired hand had the work well in order, but I still got to take some cool pictures and get an inside look at fishing in Greece. It was a pretty awesome experience. We set out at 6:00 am just as the sun was coming up. The wind was strong and the waves were as tall as me (over six feet peak to trough). No seats on the deck of this utilitarian fishing boat, so I was bracing against the impact of every wave trying to keep my camera rolling and gear dry.
The two of them, as per normal in this part of the world I take it, used massive nets that sat at the bottom of the sea overnight. That means early the next morning when we pulled up the haul, we caught a large variety of fish but also a whole suite of other things, living and nonliving. Over the years in all my different environmental studies classes I’ve heard lectures and read papers about the impacts of “by catch” on marine fisheries, but it was fascinating to see its effects in person. We pulled up fish for the table, along with a small host of stingrays with a barbs that would likely have sent me to the hospital (they didn’t let me take those out of the nets). I found a hermit crab almost the size of my fist and a number of star fish of various shapes and sizes. We caught one octopus which made a mad dash for the side of the boat (it was caught before it could get there and put safely in a bucket). The big breadwinners of the trip were a bunch of really large lobsters. They were covered in spines and a real trick to get out of the nets. More than anything else, I think my hosts were most excited about getting a decent haul of those.
I have more pictures and videos, but here are just a few to whet your appetite. I included a video of me helping to untangle the critters from the nets. Don’t worry, I’ve sped it up about 200x, so while it’s a bit spastic you don’t have to watch me laboring over every leg of each of those lobsters!
The octopus in mid-dash.
One of the crabs. These little guys just clung to the net and wouldn’t get out!
The haul of fish at the end of the day. In addition, we caught an octopus, many a lobster and crab, and threw back many smaller invertebrates that didn’t seem to have any economic value. All in all a fascinating glimpse at marine diversity in the Aegean sea!
Alright, this time lapse of me sorting through the nets is a bit spastic, but watch and enjoy: