Fishing on Stilts in Sri Lanka

The method of fishing on stilts is hereditary through many generations in Sri Lanka. It becomes the unique image of this island nation.

Sri Lanka is a world-renowned country with natural beauty of tropical forests, beaches and cultural heritage with temples over 2000 years old. However, there is a simple, unique culture that probably nowhere else in the world, which not everyone knows, is fishing on stilts.

Sitting on stilts to fish is a unique fishing method of the island nation of Sri Lanka, off the Indian coast of the Indian Ocean. Stilt fishing began during World War II. Shortages of food and over-fishing places make some people think of fishing on the water. At first, they sat on the wrecked shipwreck and the plane crashed, after which some began to build a stilts on the reef. This method has been passed down to generations of fishermen living along the southern coast 30 km long from the town of Unawatuna to Weligama.

Fishing on stilts is a traditional way of earning a living for the people of Sri Lanka and each stilt tree is considered a valuable asset passed down from generation to generation. On a stilts with a length of about 5 m, fishermen sit with a bar. Locals call the bar “petta”. From this prime location, they patiently waited for the fish to hook. Although this method may seem rudimentary and old, this is a way for people to preserve local traditions. They waited patiently for the fish to hook. Although this method may seem rudimentary and old, this is a way for people to preserve local traditions.

Profit from fishing declines. The 2004 tsunami devastated most of the Indian Ocean coast, distorting the Sri Lankan coast, so it was impossible to fish on stilts. Fishing stopped completely during the annual monsoon. Today, most fishermen no longer pass on their craft to their descendants, instead they hire people to sit on stilts fishing for photographers and tourists.