Fishing for a living

Fishing for a living

While waves seem strong and rough on the surface, the underwater world is quite the opposite.

This description was shared by Semisi Madanawa of Serua Island. Semisi, who dives and sells fish for a living said the sea teemed with life and offered a stable source of livelihood.

“I’ve been a fisherman ever since I was young and every time I am underwater, I feel like I’m in a whole different world,” he said.

“Apart from diving to get fish, I dive because it makes me happy. I get transported to an underwater world that takes my breath away.

“I’ve seen all the different types of fish and swam alongside them too.”

The fisherman said in order to catch enough of the right fish size, his team had to go out further into the deep each time.

“There’s about three of us and we spend one whole night out diving for fish. We would leave at 1pm and come back at 3am or 4am, depending on the catch we make.

“Nowadays, we must go further out and go deeper. In a week I would go two or three times to catch fish in order to sell enough for the family.”

The Serua islander said he had his own market stall in Suva and led a team of divers.

“I sell my bundles for around $40 and the price depends on the type of fish, size and how many are in a bundle. I’m blessed that I often sell all the fish that I catch. We have loyal buyers who are always waiting to buy from us.”

“We can take home between $800 and $1000 on a good day, and when we hit the right diving spot, we get a good catch.”

With the assistance given by the Serua Provincial Council in the form of a boat, Semisi said his team were now able to plan out their routine.

“With the help of technology my team and I can now plan out our diving days. When I know it is going to be windy, with rough seas I won’t go out with my team.”

He said overfishing was a problem that needed addressing if fishermen like him were to continue being in business.

“When I dive, I know which fish to get and which ones to not touch. This type of sustainable fishing should be taught to all those who catch and sell fish.

His message to both upcoming and seasoned fishermen and women is “to think of the future generation” and fish in a sustainable manner.