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Pulla [palla] fishers, Indus.

Pulla [palla] fishers, Indus.

Photographer: Unknown

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1890

Shelfmark: Photo 940/1(31)

Item number: 31

Length: 20.8

Width: 27.2

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

Photograph showing four men fishing for palla at the water's edge, with nets and earthernware floats, near Kotri in Sindh province, Pakistan, taken by an unknown photographer in the 1890s. Sindh encompasses the Lower Indus Basin with its delta, and is edged by the Arabian Sea on the south-west. The palla (tenualosa ilisha), a type of shad, is the most important variety of freshwater fish caught in Sindh. In February and March the fish ascend the Indus River in large numbers for spawning. The most common method of fishing for palla is to use a bag net attached to a long pole forked at the end. The limbs of the fork are about five feet in length and keep the net open as long as a double cord which runs along them is kept taut. The fisherman floats downstream on a chatty or earthen pot such as the ones seen in this view. His stomach forms a stopper over the mouth of the chatty while he is in the water. The fish are caught in the net then stabbed with an iron spike and placed into the chatty. The waters of the Indus provided rich fisheries, but in modern times these are under threat from over-fishing, abandoning of traditional methods, and reduction of freshwater by the increase of dams, barrages and reservoirs. This photograph is from an album of 91 prints apparently compiled by P. J. Corbett, a PWD engineer involved in irrigation work at the famine relief camp at Shetpal Tank in 1897, and in canal construction in Sindh in the early 1900s.

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