Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Mazatlán Shrimp Fleet

Mazatlán boasts one of the world's largest shrimp fishing fleets. The season is over till September so we took the opportunity of commissioning a photo essay on the industry whilst the sailors and fishermen were harbor-bound repairing their boats, drinking beer, smoking weed and generally taking it easy.

The area can be a dangerous place for the unwitting gawping tourist so not many make their way down there and they probably would not be interested but we sent our battle hardened photographer down for days on end to capture this tranquil life of a harbour resembling something out of a 'Pirates of the Caribbean' grubby, smelly, cut-throat film scenario. Men snoring and swinging in hammocks, pox-ridden mutts flat out in the shade, scabby cats with arched backs hissing, unhappy bored wives of fishermen sitting around waiting for the day the fleet takes to sea so they can rid themselves of their drinking husbands, half drunk men pissing off the quayside trying hard not to fall in the water, snotty nosed kids pulling at your pants asking for money and the occasional dark windowed gleaming SUV would pull up and suave men and their bling bling women tottering on high heels would get out and lean all over the vehicle speaking into cellular phones looking important then pile back in and purr off.

Standing like a quasi-mythological figure armed with a deadly blade Roberto slices the belly and extracts the guts from an 18 kilogram Red Snapper and below a toothless Eduardo fishes for small fry in his spare time. Having no front teeth and not bathing for months on end and smoking spliff is par for the course when your life is spent living in a dingy cabin or lean-to quayside shack while waiting for the season to start.

Boats lashed together make for one big happy family and the occasional boat sinks in dock and tends to rest on the bottom till the salt water eventually destroys it.

Red Snapper is a tasty fish that can live for up to 54 years and attain weights of 22 kilos. These are 18 kilos and perfect for grilling if you have something large enough to accommodate them.

The guts are taken out and the fish are then loaded into an ice box and transported to a hotel somewhere in Nomaz.

Once you get known on the turf you can meet characters that you would not come across in your normal day like this drunken man who invited the photographer over for a drink with his friends but was saved by a passing concerned elderly resident suggesting it was not a good idea as this inebriated twit would have probably fleeced the photographer for money and beers. She said it was not a safe place for gringos.

1 comment:

  1. I posted a link to your post... I just put up some photos of the shrimp fleet taken from the water.

    I like the new look, by the way!


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