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Kerala Fishing: Vizhinjam (Thiruvananthapuram District)

The Marine Fisheries Census of Kerala (2010) lists Vizhinjam as both fishing village and landing centre.

Vizhinjam is the major fishing port of Thiruvananthapuram (or Trivandrum). It is also the only safe harbour in the far south. Kovalam beach is 3 km north of Vizhinjam. There are plans to turn Vizhinjam into a deep water container port.


A boat landing at the beach market in Vizhinjam. Auctioning takes place on the beach sand.


The permanent construction at Vizhinjam which was not used for auxtions at the time of our visit.


The newer green mosque on the north side of the harbour at Vizhinjam. The much older mosque is visible on the far left.


A view to the north of Vizhinjam harbour. Another mosque painted white is visible on the right. This is one of the few safe harbours in the south.
Notice the many vallams, the type of craft that dominates in the south of Kerala.


Christian chapel on the beach at Vizhinjam harbour.



Mosque on northern side of the harbour


The Christian church of St Mary’s on the south of the harbour.


Typical fishing craft of the south, known as vallams, the type of craft that dominates in the south.


Traditional fishermen beaching their katummaran. The craft is constructed by stringing together two or three tree trunks. They use either nets to harvest fish, or dive for shellfish.

About 95% of all katummarans in Kerala are found on the south coast, and they make up about 78% of all craft types in the south.


An ice crusher operator sells ice to vendors. Compare this small-scale operation with the large scale ice delivieries to trawlers in the north, such as at Beypore.


This man sharpens knives for a living.


An auction happening on the beach; with fishmongers' gear in the front.



Role players at the fish market.


The man on the left keeping record of sales is a church tax collector.


A lot of red snappers being auctioned. The fish were part of a larger catch, which was first auctioned off. This smaller lot was then auctioned off by itself.



Fishermen in traditional kattumarans dive for shellfish at Vizhinjam Beach, which is south, adjacent to Vizhinjam harbour.


St Mary's Church.


A group of more than 20 traditional kattumarans at Vizhinjam Beach. Fishermen snorkel and catch mainly shellfish.


A fish monger at Vizhinjam harbour.


Another fish monger at Vizhinjam harbour.


An ice plant at Vizhinjam.


Although there is this roofed construction with concrete floors, it is not used as a market - at least not during the low season when we visited. This construction is closer to the Muslim side of the harbour, which might be another reason why the Christian south does not use it. In 1995 there were riots and some killings between different factions of fishermen. The majority of fishermen are christian, and the Church of St Mary's brokered a deal between the factions.


Outboard motors are removed from boats and stored in this manner while the boats are beached.