Wrapped up in their jobs

These fishermen at Anchar Lake in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir were completely wrapped up in their efforts to land a good catch yesterday.

With their harpoons raised, they waited quietly for fish to pass by.

As is common practice there, they kept their heads and part of their boats covered with blankets and straw, reportedly to prevent light from entering the water. This, locals have said, makes it easier to catch the fish.

But many fishermen are increasingly worried about how long the lake can sustain their livelihoods.

The fish population there is said to have been reduced drastically in recent years.

Many blame the large-scale encroachments, illegal construction and pollution that have spoiled the once-pristine lake situated on the outskirts of the state's summer capital of Srinagar.

"First, we polluted the lake with whatever filth and garbage we could find," fisherman Ali Mohammed told local weekly Kashmir Life. "And now, we complain of no catch."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 29, 2017, with the headline 'Wrapped up in their jobs'. Print Edition | Subscribe