Meet Rekha, India’s first fisherwoman

K.C. Rekha, the first fisherwoman in India starts her work in the dawn. She is a 45-year-old mother of four, who goes fishing along with her husband, P Karthikeyan. She is from Chettuva beach, a fishing village at Chavakkad in Thrissur district of Kerala.

“The couple sails 20-30 nautical miles, without a compass, a GPS device or any other modern navigation equipment and life jackets. “We rely on traditional knowledge,” says Rekha, who believes Kadalamma, the sea goddess, will protect them”, reports The Hindu. Rekha started working with Karthikeyan 10 years ago when two of his coworkers quit and they couldn’t afford to pay the laborers.

Today, she is the only woman to get a deep-sea fishing licence from the State Fisheries Department. The Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, the country’s premier marine research agency, felicitated Rekha recently. “There are many women engaged in fishing in backwaters and rivers, but there was no record of a woman’s presence along our coastline. We finally located her and recognised her feat,” CMFRI Director A. Gopalakrishnan told The Hindu.

She is the only woman in the whole of India to have such a licence, the institute says.

Rekha is undaunted even when the Arabian Sea is rough and dark clouds hover over her head. She sets sail as the rest of the world sleeps, to haul in catch for the local market. She has been giving tough competition to fishermen by sailing through the most unpredictable routes for the past few years. Rekha loves her work, despite the odds and uncertainty that nature has in store for her almost every day.

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