Catch of the Day, Year after Year: Mullaitivu Fishermen Battle On

A murder of crows peck at a katta karawala carcass outside a stretch of fishing wadiyas as the sun sets, leaving a long shadow over the Mullaitivu beach. Every now and again Pedurupullai Markupillay throws a stone in the general direction of the crows. He doesn’t care that the carcass is being attacked but doesn’t want to allow the crows to be too comfortable at settling outside his wadiya.

Markupillay began fishing when he was 18 years old. Now 69, he owns five boats that he leases out to the other fisherman that have settled into the wadiyas along the Mullaitivu beach. He has four children. Three of them are adults now. They have little to no interest in following their father’s footsteps and devoting themselves to a life at sea. “The younger generation are distracted and have no concern for what we do. Fishing used to be a generational occupation. My father was a fisherman, so was my grandfather,” he says.

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