THE EASTERN SRI LANKAN town of Trincomalee has one of the world’s deepest natural harbours, home to an abundance of Spanish mackerel, tuna, lobster and prawns. Fishing here has been the traditional core of economic and cultural life, with many families fishing these waters for generations. But incomes plummeted during the years the Sri Lankan government restricted access to the sea. This was due to security threats from the naval wing of the Tamil Tigers to the Sri Lankan naval and airforce bases in the city.
Following last year’s military victory over Prabhakaran’s 30-year insurgency, the fishermen are now allowed to work in 12-hour shifts. The majority of the Trincomalee fishermen are Tamils and Muslims. Although glad to be back out on the water, they are still looking forward to the day when they can fish anytime.