Origin of Mogaveeras
Mogaveera Community
Mogaveera Habitats
Mogaveera Customs
Festivals Observed
Occupations of Mogaveeras
Mogaveera Organizations
Mogaveera Religious Practices
Prominent Mogaveeras
Interpretation of Data
Appreciation of Website / Book


Statistical Information on Fishing Industry (2008-09) (Ref. Appendix VI Of Chapter “Appendices”) 
Early Fishing Methods
D. K. & Udupi District Co-operative Marketing Federation.
Advent of Rampani
Karnataka State Fisheries Development Corporation
End of an Era 
Akila Karnataka Fishermen’s Parishattu (Conference)
List of Rampani ‘Phandu’ (Organizations) (Ref. Appendix V Of Chapter “Appendices”)
Coastal Fishermen Action Committee
Share of Mogaveeras in Fishing & Fish Trade
Data of Non-mechanized boat
Mogaveera Navigators
Mechanized Fishing
Mogaveeras as Agriculturists
Names of the fishes
Mogaveeras in Other Employments
Pictures of Fishes
Mogaveeras in Professional field
Disposal of Fish (Marketing)
Mogaveera Businessmen



The main occupation of Mogaveera community was fishing. Even now a large percentage of population is in fishing and related activities. However, Mogaveeras have also taken up on a large scale, agriculture, employment in government and private firms as well as taken up professional work and business. As already stated under ‘Mogaveera Habitats” that approximately 70% to 75% of Mogaveeras are now pursuing occupations other than fishing and fish related activities but hardly any data is available about them. It is time to gather relevant data about them so that the details of their occupation etc. are available to the Mogaveera Community. Information on fishing and fish related activities are available and have been extensively dealt with hereafter.

Traditional Fishing

Fishing and fish trade are the main occupations of Mogaveera community residing at coastal villages of all the three Hobalies (Talukas).  In many coastal villages agriculture is the subsidiary occupation.  Coastal region is well known for coconut plantation which is the subsidiary occupation. Coconut is also an essential part of their diet (curry).  The sea abetting Mogaveera villages of Bagwadi Hobali (Kundapura Taluka) occupation of fishing is prevalent. However, in majority of villages of Bagwadi Hobali  which are away from sea shore, the main occupation is agriculture along with subsidiary source of income from dairy operations, etc. In the course of time, because of education and migration to other places, a considerable number of people have switched over to employment, business and profession.

Fishing seasons

Normally, the sea used to be rough ( Otthu/Malaka ) during the months of June, July and August. During these months fishing at sea is difficult. This is the period of fish breeding also. Therefore, the nature has created a situation to restock the fish and fishermen to have some rest. However, the river bound fishing villages used to have the benefit of over flowing rivers with flood water which used to bring in large number of fish to supplement the income of fishermen during monsoon. Other nine months are available for fishing at sea. During the monsoon, the sea is normally rough and fishermen cannot venture into sea for fishing. But, the nature provides an exception in some place where the sea is unusually calm and boat can be easily navigated into sea and abundant fish also available in this region. This phenomenon is known as Palke or Madi and in this region boats can venture into sea for fishing. Due to calm sea, fish availability also increases in these regions.

Harmonious fishing practices

During June to September sea used to be rough and fishermen normally stay out of sea. From sun set to sun rises i.e. during the night all major fishing operations used to be suspended. The reach of fishermen was also limited as manually operated boats cannot venture into deep sea. The fish caught during this period was limited as it should be used immediately and was difficult to preserve them for a long time. Drying the fish on open place or drying the fish after salting it were the options available. Even though fish used to be converted into fish manure, fishermen avoided this option. This helped the fish breeding and increased the fish stock.

Lighthouses Guided Fishing

Mangalore, Udupi and Kundapur talukas, three light houses guided the fishermen during the night. The lighthouses also signaled the beginning of fishing in the morning and the ending at the night. All the major fishing activities, such as, Bhisana, Patte-Bale, Y-Bale, Rampani and Kairamapani operated during the day time and stoppage of flash of light in the morning and beginning of the flash of light in the evening were the relying signals for fishing activities. The pictures of three light houses are given here.

Mangalore lighthouse

Suratkal lighthouse

Kaup lighthouse

Early Fishing Boats

In the good old days, fishing activities were concentrated in shallow sea waters. All activities were performed manually. Small boats were used which were made of wood. Many a times, the boats were simply carved out of single piece of wood. The joints and faults in the wood were patched up by using cotton and grease tied by coir thread. The boat consists of two ends, the front side is known as Anya and the rear side is known as Abbara which is used to guide the boat movements which is known as Muchhange. At the Anya, a flat wooden piece is fixed to stand on it during Bhisana fishing which is known as Addav. The oars ( Dande) were used while standing on the boat to navigate which is known as Sulavunu. The larger boats of Y-Bale and Oddu-Bale are navigated by rowing with oars attached to the sides of the boat which is known as Berunu . In addition, whenever wind direction is favourable, wind sails (Paai) made of rough cotton cloth hoisted on the wooden poles and fastened by ropes were used to harness the wind power to navigate the boat.  The wind sail of square in shape is called Chende Paai and triangular shaped one is called Kol-Paai . To empty the water from the boat during journey into see Marad is used.

Thread made of Thalambu

We should not forget that the fishing nets were prepared by a special thread from a jute sapling locally known as Thalambu . Fishermen used to cultivate these plants by temporarily renting land and cultivation took place in monsoon.  After the jute plant is rife, the same were plucked and transported to coastal villages for segregating seed and jute plant. The seeds are use in the next season. Jute plants are graded and cut to size for drying in the sun. Later, these plants are kept in water (ponds or river) and dried again. The jute out of its stems used to be separated for preparing threads. According requirements, these threads were further joined together (entwined) to form stronger threads for the purpose of preparing nets. Once the nets are ready, they were boiled with certain special leaves and lime. The nets are straightened by stretching the net to tighten the knots in the net.

Preparation of Nets

To make the nets to sink in water lead rings were used and to make it float, some special wooden floats known as Gali made of mangroves were used. All these activities from production of raw jute to preparation of net till it is used were attended by family of Mogaveeras. To preserve the nets, a solution from a tree bark known as Panpu used to be applied periodically. These jute nets are more strong and durable and cheaper than nets made of cotton threads. The Panpu was also used to preserve the working clothes of fishermen.

Early Fishing Methods


One of the most popular methods was known as Bhisana i.e. use of a conical net spread into the water. This is also known as Beesu-bale (Cast-net). This net can be used for fishing in the sea shore, river and ponds. It can also be spread in standing in a boat. In order to catch the shoal fish, this net is thrown (spread) on standing on a platform on the boat known as addav . This is the major method of fishing during the monsoon.

Types of Bishana Nets

There were several verities of this type of net depending on the mess size and system built into this net for catching the fish. The small mess size is known as Chikkale ( chikka means small) and large mess size net is known as Therbale. One of the two systems of Bhisana-bale is Thaggada-bale in which long threads connecting the bottom of the net which is controlled at the top of the net. This type of Bhisana-bale is used mainly for catching shoal fish. Here the quantity of fish cought is larger. The other verity is of the Bhisana-bale which is folded in the bottom like an open envelope ( Thoolda-bale ) to trap the fish. This variety of Bhisana-bale is used in shallow sea and rivers. In both the cases, after spreading the net, the same is drawn slowly to trap the fish within the Bhisana-bale . It is interesting to note that these conical nets are used world over by the fishermen but only throwing (spreading) the net vary. A picture of spreading Bhisana-bale is given here.


To catch large fishes, like large cat-fish ( Thede/Gangal ), large ray fish, large sharks, large Balde etc. sturdy jute thread nets of different mess sizes and strength were used. The bottom is tied with small stones and the floats of different sizes are tied on the top portion. During the day time in a medium size boat around four to five people navigate into deep sea and spread the nets. Each person will have his own choice of nets and the fish caught in that net belong to him. To locate the net, they used to plant a stone marker and a float so that it can easily found next day. It was believed that in the night due to lack of light, the fishes would get entangled in the net. The next day, they lift the nets to collect the entangled fish and bring them to shore. Thorake (Ray fish) is one of the fish caught in these nets.  Pictures of fishes are given in this Chapter.


The Kanthale nets were made of cotton thread and fitted with lead rings to make it dip in the water and floats fastened on the other end of the net so that the net positioned vertically. These nets are spread and the people stay with the net for some time to collect the net and the fish entangled in the net. This fishing method is also used both in sea and river fishing operations.


This is a similar system of fishing as described in Bale-Kattunu but smaller mess size nets are used. But, the people with their boat generally stayed with their net during the night. This type of fishing was also done in deeper sea. This kind of fishing in high seas is not now possible as heavy trawlers while fishing might drag these nets in their night fishing operations for which there is no defense.


Use of hooks for fishing is an ancient practice. The practice of using a series of hooks with baits attached to a strong thread is known is Bepu. This system requires the fishermen to stay with the Bepu in the night also. Even this cannot be done now for the same reasons given above.


It is also known as Mari Bale in some part of the coast. It is further interesting to note that Y-bale Jodi (meaning two together) which is a joint operation involving two large boats. Several Y-Bale Jodies (units) of particular group of villages used to form consortium to fish together and share the catch. Here, the first part of the net used to be made out o coir thread and the second part which traps the fish, is made up of solid jute ( Thalambu ) thread. This part of the net is also used for holding the fish after the catch till entire fish stock is stored inside the boats. The shape of net in operation was like a “Y” when dragged by two boats gave the name as Y-Bale . It can be described as a modern trawler net which does not touch the bottom of sea but operates on the surface to catch shoal fish. The fishing by way of Y-Bale required great skills as it used to catch shoals of fish by cornering the same and driving it into the nets. The fishes caught were large fishes like Thede/Gangal (larger cat fish), Balde (Large sciaenid fish) etc. Balde which was available earlier in plenty now almost extinct.

Joint Co-operative Ventures

As the fish caught were by joint operations by several Jodis , sale proceeds were first distributed among member Jodis and further shared by co-owners ( Swantha ) and workers ( Angame ). In short, it was an arrangement between Jodies, groups of Co-operative Societies as members who have formed a Federation of Co-operative Societies.  In this co-operative fishing method, large number of people derived benefit.  Now, this mode of fishing is no more.


Patte-bale is also operated by two boats ( Jody ) which uses nets made of cotton/nylon made an inch size mess. On sighting the fish shoals (Mackerels/Sardines etc.), the boats want to place themselves in an advantageous position. For this purpose, the boats are navigated (by Sulavunu ). At times the shoals are chased and over taken before lowering the net. Before encircling the fish shoals, the nets from both the boats are connected ( Dhara-Woipunu ) and then encircle the fish shoals to trap them.

Thereafter, the fishes are driven into nets by creating lot of sound (Gundu Padunu) so that the fish dashes towards the net and get entangle in the net. Satisfied that the fishes have sufficiently entangled, the nets are slowly lifted into both the boats to collect the fish. This mode of fishing is still in operation. This is again a joint venture of several owners and operates as a co-operative society. In this operation, only 25% to 50% of the shoal of fish is caught and can be considered as conservation friendly.

Advent of Rampani

Rampani , was named after a Portuguese Christian priest “Rampaan” who said to have introduced Rampani in Goa. In coastal Karnataka Rampani had come from Goa. This system of fishing can only be done in shallow water sea and mainly to catch shoal fish. This kind of fishing can only be described as massive fishing operation. This kind of fishing used to be regulated and starts from Bhonthal (September/October) by collecting all the nets and putting them in order and erecting a temporary structure ( Dhompa ) as shelter for assembling and storing necessary things. The fishing season normally comes to an end in Paggu (March/April) when nets were dismantled and stored and Padav is kept in shelter to protect it from rain water during monsoon.


Larger boats known as Padav were used. Padav used to be built by slabs of wooden planks joining together by intricate water proofing methods. The length used to be around 50’, breadth 10’ and height (bottom to top) 7’ to 8’. On the very first occasion Grahapravesha of introducing the Padav , Kuttipooje is performed and the procedure followed is the same as described in. For more details, please refer to Illokkel under Chapter “Mogaveera Customs”. Navigation gear, rudder ( Chikan ) fixed at the rear portion which is normally manned by Tandela (divisional head). In the front portion around 5 to 8 rowing points each sides, manned by two people each, powers the boat during the fishing. At times one person with a slim bamboo pole ( Jalla) stations himself on the net in the middle of the Padav . To stabilize this, a small catamaran-like uncrated wooden boat ‘ Ollanty/Oliandy’ is tied connected by two sturdy (beam-like) poles in the right side during fishing operations. In the middle portion of the Padav between above referred connecting poles, the nets are loaded for fishing operation. Synchronized rowing and expert discharge of net during the fishing is itself a fine art. These boats were protected by applying oil extracted of cashew-nut kernels with mixtures of vegetable oils. At the time of Padav being moved into sea and while it brought back, wooden planks with grease used to be put below the Padav to prevent from sinking in the sand due to its heavy weight. A picture of Padav is given in this Chapter.

Composite structure of nets

The whole system is devised in such a way that fish once encircled can be brought to shore safely. There are two sides connected by Maand a sturdy set of net in the middle. The first part consists of Allada locally spun coir rope followed by large size mess net called Allida-bale and then small mess size Dolluda-bale.

The large size net called Allida Bale allowed small fishes which inhabit the shallower water to escape which can be considered conservation friendly. Dolluda Bale and Mand were made of twine threads of different thickness and strength. The bottom part of the nets Kallare are fitted with lead rings to enable the net to sink and upper part Gallithare is fitted with floats known as Gali normally made of Pongardha Mara a light wood. The middle of the Maand is marked by rope with a float which is used to tie the Padav after spreading the net till it is dragged to the shore. The total length of the rope and nets is around 2 Km. to 5 Km. A picture of loading the nets into Padav is given in this Chapter.

Co-operative ownership

The Rampani is normally owned ( Swantha) by 40 to 60 people. All the three types of nets are in many cases prepared by the co-owners during the monsoon and assembled in the beginning of the season to convert it into useable nets with the supervision of the whole group. The preparation of coir rope Allad is itself an art and takes considerable time. Owner workers not only contribute all nets on an agreed basis but also share the capital required. However, there were instances where the Rampani used to be owned by single or a few people ( Sawookar/Sawookars ) employing all others as workers.


The administrative set up consists of a Nela Thandala (Chief), two Kontu Tandalas (divisional chiefs) and an accountant known as Senava . Tandalas normally act as cashiers. These people also handle all affairs including purchase, auctioning of fish, cash etc. Few experienced people used to be selected for the purpose of scouting for the fish using a small boat (Konthala) whose job is to locate the fish shoals etc. Some more people are hired as Hangame (non-owner-workers) who are either younger Mogaveera workers or from other communities. Owner-members would get one share each and bear all capital expenses and the non-owner-worker would get half share each in the earnings. In few cases, 3 to 4 trainee boys ( Pasal ) were employed with 1/4th of the share also.

Operation of Rampani


Padav used to be kept ready with coir rope and nets properly stored. The Konthala, with the scouts on the boat would locate the fish and determine how the net should be spread. Padav cannot be placed on the sand because of its weight. It has to be on a wooden piece known as Dade and when the Padav used to be moved (in and out of sea), a special type of grease is poured on Dade so that Padav can slide fast.

To synchronize the efforts of all the people, Amba was used. The rowing of the Padav to out manoeuvre the fish shoals can be believed only by seeing its operations. Once the spreading of the net is completed, the Padav would go out in the sea to park itself in the middle of by tying the rope. The whole spread of the net with Gali floating looked like a large necklace and the “Padav” in the middle as a pendant


To bring the net into shore is a very difficult task which used to be done by tying a small rope called Mar to the nets and putting across a stick called Kade and drag backwards by two people in a row. This exercise at time continues up to four to eight hours. The person in Padav ensures that both the sides are evenly pulled. A picture of pulling the nets of Rampani is given in this Chapter.


Once the net is sufficiently drawn towards the sea shore, if the fish inside the net is of manageable level, the fish is driven inside the Maand and caught between bottom ( Kallare ) and upper portion ( Gaslithare ) to bring it out of the sea water. This process is known as Maand-Oipunu .


In case of large quantity of fish is expected to be brought out, both the sides are tied to strong wooden poles planted on the sand pit or in some cases tied to the coconut trees. The middle portion of the Maand is tied to Padav which used to be balanced by anchoring. This process is known as Gujje-Padunu .


Then the fish is leisurely caught by smaller nets known as Ula-maand and transferred into small nets known as Kannies for transporting into sea shore. This process of emptying of fish from Gujji is known as Thodunu . The whole atmosphere changes into festive mood and lot of indigenous singing in many forms begins. In this process, the fish is kept for few days to get better price.

Other beneficiaries

The children were the beneficiary of this system, in which they use to collect lot of fish by using Gorthale (a net with two sticks attached) or by using Pirau-Bale .


Pirav Bale is made of half an inch mess. The length of the net is around 10’ to 12’ feet. The width is about 6 feet. Bottom with lead rings and top with small floats is secured with rope and hand held during the operation. This net is operated by two people during Maand Oipunu to trap the fishes escaping the Rampani net. Sometimes, due to rough sea or misjudgment while final trapping of the fishes, considerable fishes escape and Pirau Bale operators get good amount of fish. This helped many earn money to fulfill their needs.

Modes of disposal of fish

Distribution of Fish among Members

At times, some portion of fish caught is distributed among the members by way of Pal-Padunu . Old people used to be given some fish (charity in kind) for their personal use.

Auction Sale

Fish auctions are also done and for known people, credit is allowed The fish caught in the Maand used to be sold by auction (a whole sale auction) or particular lot (retail auction) to the highest bidder. In the whole sale auction approved Sawookars generally purchase mainly on credit. But, in the retail auction, individual fish vendors participate. One of the popular participants is the people who carry fish on their cycles to far off places for retail sales. Fisherwomen also used to participate in retail auctions. In many cases, the auction sales are on credit.

Institutions of Sawookars (Fish Traders)

The fish so caught are distributed between Sawookars who are on the approved list of each Rampani Phandu and sales are affected first and the price, in many cases, determined later on mutually agreed basis. The place from where the Sawookars operated is known as Kaman . Large portion of fish caught, such as, mackerel etc. are salted and after drying exported. A special process which is known as Puli Uppu used to be adopted for preserving the fish for longer period. In this process where a special Puli (a preservative) is used in addition to salt thereby the fish used to be preserved for a longer period and could be sold during monsoon season for better price as availability of the fish is less.

Boilers for extracting Fish Oil

When sardine fish used to be caught in large quantity, the same are first boiled and put under a press to extract oil. The reminder of the fish is dried to make fish manure. Both fish oil and fish manure used to be locally consumed and a portion is also exported. Very few Sawookars had this facility.

Other Methods of Fish Manures

When very large quantity of fish like sardine etc. caught all of it cannot be sold or oil cannot be extracted, the excess fish used to be converted into fish manures by openly spreading the same on the sand for drying. The other method is of burying the fish in a large pit in the sand and digs out the same after few days and dried to be used as manure. Earlier, this situation was frequent as the local consumption was limited, facilities for preserving the fish were rare and transport facilities were minimal. This situation led to over fishing and wastage of precious resources.

Kaman and Boilers

If the catch is large, the fish is prepared for salting by Sawookars in their Kamans. The fish like sardine in some cases are boiled for extracting oil popularly known as Bylar (Boiler) where all facilities like boiling the fish, pressing it to extract the oil and storage of the same were available. The solid remains are dried and used as fish manure of good quality. Fish oil is used to prepare nourishing food supplements.

Fish Manures (Kutte Kudupunu)

In some cases, fish catch used to be so large that could not be sold or processed and had to be converted into fish manure either by open drying process Kutte-Kudupunu or burying in the sand. The buried fish is taken out and dried to be used as manure.  These processes of fish curing created large number of employments to people other than involved in direct fishing. Rampani fishing was boon for all the people living in coastal villages.

End of an Era

Co-operative way of fishing
It is heartening to note that Y-Bale , Patte-Bale, Rampani, Kairampani etc. were owned by a group of people on co-operative basis by employing some more people as workers with a share in the catch of fish (in money terms). Y-Bale and Patte-Bale were owned by groups of around twenty people. Rampani used to be owned by thirty five to fifty people. Similarly, the Kairampani ( mini Rampani) use to be owned by around twenty five people. Probably, the Phandu (Fishing Co-Operative Societies) of Y-Bale , Patte-Bale, Rampani, Kairampani etc. were in existence much before Madras Presidency or any other Government officially started ‘Co-operative Societies’ and probably anywhere in India.

Contribution to common Good
The large amount of salted fish used to be exported and fish oil, fish cake, fish manures etc, sold for cash. Generation of cash and circulation of money brought out larger trade and commerce into coastal villages. Another salient feature to be noted is that all the above fishing entities and other fishing net works set apart a portion of their earning to their respective Grama Sabhas which had contributed immensely to the development and unity of Mogaveera community. There was also a custom of gifting away a small portion of fish to people who are not able to practice fishing. The above facts of good old days of fishing period practiced a noble theme of “live and let live”. This should be viewed with reference to the meager education of the people involved. This self contained, self regulated and self sufficient community living is now part of history.

Traditional Regulations Violated

The Rampani fishing method started around 1910. Other major fishing operations were designed to catch grown up fish only allowing small fish to survive. The Rampani fishing represented the Mogaveera community’s capacity to adopt new method of fishing by organizing and co-operative method of sharing the benefits with themselves and with all other communities. The Mogaveera community self regulated all fishing operations. To prevent overfishing, fishing after sun-set i.e. night fishing (after sun set) were banned by Rampani and all major fishing operations were banned. But the mechanized fishing has over thrown all such prudent checks and balances.

Introduction of Trawlers

The situation started changing from 1957 when mechanized trawlers were introduced and followed by introduction of larger trawlers. The statistical data published in 1973 by the Government of Karnataka show that total numbers of Rampanies and Kairampanies at 89 and 114 respectively in undivided Dakshina Kannada District .

Introduction of Purse-Seine Net

In the year 1975 for the first time, Purse-Seine method of fishing was introduced which enabled the mechanized boat to catch shoal fish. The trawlers essentially caught fish at the bottom of the sea, such as prawns. The combined effect of trawler fishing which disturbed the migrating fish shoals by night fishing and similar night fishing by Purse-Seines of shoal fishes, a situation was created whereby the shoal fish was prevented from coming within the reach of Rampani fishing.

Government Policies

The Government of Karnataka granted subsidies, granted loans at lower rates and provided training facilities. The financial institutions (including public sector banks) have granted loans at lower rates as well as provide all facilities to mechanized fishing operations but the traditional fishermen did not get any assistance at all. Private investors cashed in by purchasing Purse-Seines and setting up boat building facilities. The mechanized fishing operation commenced in the month of September and lasted up to May as against the Rampani fishing period was between the October to March. Thus before the Rampani fishing operation was to start, the mechanized fishing operations have already in operation disturbing the migration of shoal fish movements.

Proof of decline in Traditional Fishing

This fact was substantiated by the statistical data published by Government of Karnataka for 1978-79 which shows that in the year 1974-75 (year before introduction of Purse-Seine) share of traditional fishing was 82.5% and share of mechanized fishing was 17.5%. In 1978-79, this position was drastically changed to show that traditional fishing was only 11.7% and that of mechanized fishing was 88.3%. The share of Rampani was only 7% in 1978-79 which was 38% in 1973-74. These figures speak more than the words.

Feeble Effort by Government

All Rampani Phandus had united and formed an association to fight for their survival. After protests from this organization and traditional fishermen, Government of Karnataka brought out a scheme known as “Diversification of fishing – providing Purse-Seine to Rampani Fishermen” in the year 1977. Under this scheme seed capital needed was estimated at Rs.80,000 (appx.15%) and the Rampani needed to bring in Rs.20,000 and the balance amount of Rs.60,000 was granted by way of subsidy at Rs.40,000 by the Government of Karnataka and Rs.20,000 was granted as loan by Karnataka Fisheries Development Corporation. The balance amount for purchase of Purse-Seine would come as loan from financial institutions, mainly nationalised banks. Later, the subsidy and loan component was raised to 25% of the cost of the project. It was reported that around thirteen Purse-Seines were put in operation under this scheme. Thus, many did not avail of the benefit of this scheme. Further, the Rampanies who opted into the scheme were burdened with running Rampani and Purse-Seine operations which proved unavailable as larger number of workers were needed and servicing of the commercial loan taken became difficult to meet. Probably a well meaning scheme did not serve the purpose for which it was introduced. It can be said that an Era of Co-operative Fishing movement had come to an end.

List of Rampani Phandu (Organizations)

An attempt is made to record the names of the Rampani Phandus for the benefit of the future generation. This list of Rampanies is given as Appendix V under Chapter “Appendices”


Kairampani is similar to the Rampani operation done during June to August during monsoon season. Here the formation of net is the same but in smaller in size and the boat used is a large boat which can be manned by around nine to ten people. The fish caught are generally of non-shoal type and the catch depends upon more of chance. The statistical data of 1972-73 published by Government of Karnataka show that 114 Kairampanies were in operation. The Rampani stopped operating in some coastal villages but Kairampanies are still in operation. Number of Kairampanies has declined and some started operating throughout the year as was done by Rampanies.

Data of Non-Mechanized Boats

The data published by Department of Fisheries, Government of Karnataka for Financial year 2007-08 in respect of Non-mechanized fishing boats are given below:

Udupi Taluka
Kundapura Taluka
Mangalore Taluka
Kairampani Boats
Patte-Bale Boats
Other boats


Rampani has vanished by 2007-08.
The information about Patte-Bale in Udupi Taluka shown at NIL appears to be incorrect and data about quantity and values of fish caught by non-mechanized boats are not available.

Mechanized Traditional Boat

The Rampani, Padav, Patte-Bale, Y-Bale etc. could not use out-board engine for navigation. But gill net, cast net and other traditional fishing boats used outboard engines for navigational purpose. The fishing using the out-board engine attached to the boats is treated as part of traditional fishing.

Mechanized Fishing


The mechanized boats, such as, Multi-day Trawlers, purse-seiners (nets), Gill- nets, Long-Liners came into operation. The modern nets and gears of mechanized boats were used by these modern mechanized boats. This shows that some earlier fishing methods were also later mechanized and became part of the mechanized fishing operations. The Governments and Scheduled Banks came out to finance these ventures. These large boats equipped with better nets and cold storage facilities were able to dominate the fishing industry.

Development of fishing harbors

The facilities created in fishing harbors of Mangalore, Maple, Honnavar and Gangolli played as an incentive for mechanized fishing.

Mangalore fishing harbour

Uploading fish at Mangalore fishing harbour

Malpe harbour

Kundapur harbour

Gangolli harbour

The fish landing centers

Fish landing centers at Ullal, Mangalore, Kulai, Mulky, Hejmadi, Polipu, Udyavar, Malpe, Hangarkatte, Beejadi, Gangoli, Naunda, Tharapathi, and Siroor became famous for whole sale fish landing and disposal.

Hejamadi fish landing centre

Boat Building and & Fish Preserving Units

The setting up of boat building and repairing facilities which in many cases were subsidized helped this industry. Similarly, the improving the capacity and setting up of fresh fish preserving units helped to get better price for fish. The data for the F.Y.2007-08 for the Talukas, Mangalore, Udupi and Kundapur are given below:

Udupi Taluka
Kundapura Taluka
Mangalore Taluka
Ice Factories, Cold Storages etc.
Canning plants
Fish mean/Fish Oil Plants
Fish Cutting Units
Net Making Units
Boat Building Yards


The small mechanized fishing boats (30’ to 46’) known as trawlers were introduced in middle of 1957 with government subsiding and training the fishermen. These trawlers were equipped for catching shrimp which commanded good price due to flourishing export market. The larger version known as Multi-day Trawlers was introduced later. Simultaneously, other fishermen found it easier to use motor to propel the boat for many fishing operations. Government also gave subsidy for purchase of mechanized boats and nets. Therefore, small and medium size fishing boats started using motors to propel their boats. The availability of factory made nets and ship yard made lighter fiber boats were preferred over hand woven nets and heavier wooden boats. Government policy and finances from commercial banks opened up ways for investments in the new boats and fishing gears.

Purse-seine Net Fishing

Earlier a reference was made to Purse-Seine fishing. In the year 1975, Purse-Seine fishing was introduced. The meaning of word Purse-Seine is to encircle or make the net like a ‘purse-like’ for catching the fish. This net is operated to encircle the fish shoal and form like a purse by bringing the bottom portion up together. With this type of fishing large amount of fish can be caught. The boat size was around 45’ to 50’ in the beginning and now extended up to 75’. A powerful pulling winch with the capacity of two to three tones is also fitted to haul the net and fish into the boat. Two mechanized support ships called ‘carriers’ are also necessary for the fishing operation; particularly to carry the fish back to landing sites. About 30 to 35 people are necessary for operating the boat and net. The project cost was around five to six lakhs in the beginning and now it is said to be around a crore of rupees. The number of Purse-Seines is increasing day-by-day. This form of fishing is the largest catcher of fish as of to-day.

Fishing Factory Boats

Overseas large fishing boats with facility to catch the fish and preserve it are also venturing into Indian seas. These ships with all the modern fishing equipments and preserving facilities are also intruding into fishing fields of local fishermen.

Modern equipments

The advance versions of GPS, Radio Telephones, Fish Finders, compact preservation units along with Mobile phones, have contributed toward larger fish catch and realization of good price for the fish.

Over Fishing

Fishing communities during the period of traditional fishing imposed certain measures against over fishing. However, during the period of mechanized fishing, over fishing is the rule. The mesh size of the net became smaller and even the juvenile (small fishes) are caught and used for fish meal and fish manure. The increase in capacity to fish, store and transport enticed the modern fishermen to catch as much fish as possible at a short span of time. The traditional lean fishing season of June to September is flouted and night fishing became a rule. The ban on mechanized boat fishing has been reduced to 57 days from 15th June to 10th August. Polluting industrial wastes also has contributed towards decline in fish stock.

Name of the fishes

Kollatharu (Anchovies)
Kijan (sweet water)
Podi Etti (tinny prawn)
Kevaji (river fish)
Etti (sea prawn)
Tiger prawn
Kaji Etti (black prawn)
Bolletti (while prawn)
Mandetti (prawn)
Singade (small cat fish)
Guddetti (prawn)
Bolingeer (white sardine)
Kurchi (silver belly)
Ghatti Kurchi (silver belly)
Nang (soles)
Kooli Nang (soles)
Waale Monang (clupeids)
Bare Monang (clupeids)
Naai Monang (clupeids)
Umi Monang (clupeids)
Paale Monang (clupeids)
Rebbai (plain sardine)
Swaadi (flat sardine)
Kurndodi ( Fat Sardine)
Paambolu (ribbon fish)
Bandase (squid)
Kol Bandase (Needle squid)
Kari Bandase (Cuttle Fish)
Bombele (Bombay duck)
Kalluru (sciaenid)
(large sciaenid)
(pond fish)
Mugudu (pond fish)
Madmalmeen (Pink Perch)
Theekade (cat fish)
Boothai (oil sardine)
Bangude (mackerel)
Maala (mullet)
Kaane (lady fish)
Mallaas (Hilsa)
Berang (lobster)
Jengi (crab)
Kall-Jengi (crab)
Maanji (Pompfret)
Kappu-Maanji (Black Pompfret)
Bolyade (cat fish)
Kappe-Thede (Black cat fish)
Thede (large cat fish)
Gangal (largest cat fish)
Thaate (small shark)
Balyar (medium shark)
Kurle-Thaate (short fat shark)
Kebi-Thaate (Hammer headed shark)
Naai-Thaate (shark)
Koran (medium Sciaenid)
Balde (Large sciaenid)
Pallaimeen (flat fish)
Pullad (Small ray fish)
Mookel (ray fish)
Thorake (ray fish)
Kida (ray fish)
Pili Thoreka (Tiger ray)
Kol-Thorake (ray fish)
Paana (ray fish)
9 Kedar (Tuna)

Pictures of Fishes

Disposal of Fish (Marketing)

Early Fish Marketing

Sale of fish was done at the sea shore itself. The method adopted is auctioning or sale by bargaining the price per bucket of fish. Mackerel, Sardine etc. were sold by fixing price for a lot of hundred or thousand. Retail fish trade was with women from fishing communities. The people from community known as Byari (Muslim) used to carry fish on cycles to inland market where it fetched better price. The whole sale fish market consisting of salted fish, fish manure and export of fish were dominated by Byari community. Export of fish was made to mainly to Colombo (Shree Lanka).

Fish bartered for Paddy

The only way to get better price was to barter it for paddy which required transporting fish (including salted) on head load by women. The regular families who used to purchase fish were known as Keka of the fisher women and used to pay by way of paddy for the fish they purchased. The paddy used to be brought by head load and at the end of the year by bullock cart. The paddy is soaked in water over night and boiled in the morning. After drying it in sun for two days, the same was pounded in court yard.

The rice (Urpele Ari) was stored in a device called Mudi using hay and hay rope, for packing rice (approx. 3 Kalese of 14x3 = 42 sere) for preserving it for consumption during monsoon. The Mudi is also good for transporting rice. There used to be two more varieties of rice, one is known Are Bholante (semi-boiled) and Bholanthe (white-rice) which were used for preparing dosa/rice roti etc. Large numbers of families were the beneficiaries of this system which ensured square meals in monsoon when fishing activities was not possible or minimal.

Modern Fish Marketing

Fish started commanding better price after middle of twentieth century due to improvement in transport facilities, ice-plants and development of export market. Fish landing sites and fishing harbors became the centre for fish trade. Now, the retailers in fish has to go to these fish landing sites and fishing harbors for their supply and transport the fish to other coastal and interior villages for sale. A few road side fish markets have also developed. These fish markets are part of panchayat markets and no decent facilities are available. Other problem faced by the fisherwomen are required to depend upon the local bus etc. which in many a cases difficult proposition. As communication system has improved and the price of the fish is determined depending upon the overall supply and demand for on the day.

High Tech Fish Marketing

Even though good fish markets have not developed, fully air-conditioned fish marketing centres have come up. These centres not only store fish in its freezers but also operate in an air-conditioned place.

Traditional Fish Curing

In the initial decades of twentieth century, fish catch used to be ample and money was in short supply. The fresh fish consumption was only half the quantity caught. The large part of the fish caught was preserved in various methods of drying and preparing manures. Small fish like prawns, ribbon fish, mullets, soles, silver fish, white bait etc. used to be sun dried. All kind of fish used to be salted either whole or by slitting them and removing guts and gills. For salting the fish whole, large amount of salt is required and several times salting need to be repeated. However, large fish can only be slitted and salted. Certain special salting operations and preparation of fish manure are discussed under the head Rampani are not repeated here.

Other Traditional ways of fish disposal

The organized fish disposal by fish merchants (Sawookars) by way of salting the fish, preparing fish manures in several ways, extracting of fish oil (boilers) are described under the Rampani which are not repeated here.

Preservation of Fish

Modern methods of fish preservation by Ice Factories (freezing) and canning of selected fishes fetch more prices mainly in export market. Similarly, the establishments of fish meal factories utilised discarded fish and yield out of this source added to the income of the fishermen. The following statistical information speaks for itself.

Fishing Industry Data (2007-08)

Various data in respect of Fishing Industry (2007-08) is given in “Appendix VI” of Chapter “Appendices”.

Dakshina Kannada & Udupi District Co-operative Fish Marketing Federation

The name of this institution was “South Kenera District Co-operative Fish Marketing Federation” in the undivided Dakshina Kannada District and was registered in the year 1954. After the bifurcation of South Kanara district into Dakshina Kannada and Udupi District, the name was changed into “Dakshina Kannada & Udupi Districts Co-operative Fish Marketing Federation”.

Aims and Objectives of Federation are:

To advance loans to its members.

To market fish and fish products.

To purchase and shell fish and fish products on its own account.

To open branch offices and depots to reach out to its members.

To set up boat building and other crafts.

To construct, own or hire fishing boats, ice factories, cold storage plants, fish processing plants, fish curing yards, transport vans, godowns etc.
To manufacture, purchase all fishing requirements for selling to its members.

To own or lease fish markets & stalls.

To hold conferences, collect information etc. for the benefit of fishermen.

To accept deposits for financing its operations.

Main Activities

The main activities of the Federation are in the area of financing its members, sale of equipments & spare parts, marketing of fish and fish products, and explore export opportunities. Apart from the share capital contributed by the Governments and its members, it can borrow money from Central Government and banks etc. The Federation is managed by President and Board of Directors, Secretary and other staff members.

Karnataka Fisheries Development Corporation

It is a limited company registered under the Companies Act, 1956. Share capital is Rs.3 crores and its head quarter is in Mangalore. Share capital is contributed by Government and Corporation can borrow from banks.

Aims and Objectives are:

To take over and manage Government owned ice plants, freezing plants, cold storages, fish transport vehicles, boat building yards and construct new such facilities.
To start servicing stations to process and supply all requirements of fishing industry.

To carry out fishing activities, fish processing and engage in trading in fish and fish products on its own account or in collaboration with others.
To promote and establishment of manufacturing units of all fishing industry requirements and sale of the same.

Field of Activities

The Corporation had restarted some fish preserving units, helped to add additional capacity and also helped to add some more facilities. It had opened retail fish stalls in some cities.

Akila Karnataka Fishermen’s Parishattu (Conference)


The original name of this organization is “ Maha Mysore Fishermen’s Parishattu ”. The fishermen community leaders, both of marine fishing and inland fishing, came together & formed this institution in 1957. The aims and objectives of this institution are that to form an apex body of all the fishermen organizations to create a common platform to study and find solutions to the problems relating to fishing and fish trade. This institution was able to represent fishermen before Government of India, State Government and other agencies.

Details of Conferences held

To achieve these objectives, Parishattu had organized eight conferences. These conferences were sponsored by various fishermen institutions and they had an opportunity to put across their views before the Government Ministers and bureaucrats. The eight conferences were held in Malpe, Mangalore, Karwar and Bangalore beginning from 1957 and the last conference was held in the year 1998.

Achievements of Parishattu

The Parishattu claims to have succeeded in crystallizing the views of the fishermen with respect to the problems faced by them and represented before various Government and other agencies. Brief summary of the achievements are:

Parishattu succeeded in improving the facilities in all the fishing harbors by creating additional jetties and removing unwanted sand by dredging the area around the harbor.
Secured relief from sea erosion by getting the Government to erect protective walls to protect the fishermen houses and land.
Getting diesel subsidy for fishermen which reduced their cost.

Getting banks to lend loans to all fishermen including Naada Dhone (traditional fishing boats) operators at lower rates of interest.
During the days of famine, Parishad succeeded in getting food grains distributed through Fishermen Co-operative societies.
Parishattu succeeded in getting the part of the loan and interest waived at the time of financial distress of fishermen.

Getting housing loan and subsidy for fishermen housing schemes.

Getting training facilities for fishermen.

Getting the feeder roads repaired and maintained properly.

Getting Government to act against the discharge of industrial waste into sea and rivers.

Getting the CRZ regulations relaxed for the fishermen to build houses etc.

Getting adequate compensation to people displaced due to Karwar Naval dockyard.

Getting the government to act in increasing the facilities for inland fishing.

Getting the Central Government to act against the deep sea trawlers by demarcating their area for fishing and thereby protecting the traditional fishermen.
In protecting the fish during breading period by persuading the Government of India to lay down uniform fishing ban in all coastal states.
Getting waiver of sales-tax on ice manufactured for the purpose of fish preservation.

Getting better electric supply to ice-plants, fish canning facilities at a lower rate.

Persuading State Governments and other agencies to construct and maintain fish markets and

Working towards elimination of middle men in fish trade by direct selling of fish to the Fishermen Co-operative Societies.

The permanent office and staff would have given better results. At least it succeeded in forging an institution which could deal with common problems of fishermen.

Coastal Fishermen Action Committee


This organization of all fishermen of coastal Karnataka ( Dakishna Kannada , Udupi and Uthara Kannada districts) is sponsored by Dakshina Kannada Mogaveera Mahajana Sangha (DKMMS) and Karnataka Fishermen’s Parishattu (conference). At the initiative of DKMMS in 1997, this organization was started in 1998. The President of DKMMS is the permanent President of this organization.


There is a long list of over sixty members of this organization. The membership can be classified into several groups. They are

Apex bodies of fishermen communities, such as, Mogaveeras, Karvies, Konkan Karvies, Harikantra (Harakantra), etc.

Various associations representing Purse-seine Boat owners, Deep sea Trawlers Boat owners, Trawler Boat owners, Gillnet Boat owners, Naadadoni Boat owners etc.,
Fish marketing co-operatives and their federations, some organizations working for the betterment of fishermen and fish trade etc.


This umbrella organization with the help of its sponsor organizations has succeeded in liaison with Central and State Governments and obtaining grants, subsidies for the fishermen. The subsidies in purchase price of diesel, kerosene for motorized boats and developing fishing harbors etc. are substantial. It also took up some social issues of fishermen in respect of OBC/ST status with the appropriate authorities.

Share of Mogaveeras in Fishing & Fish Trade

Ownership of Small & Medium Boats & Net

Ownership of fishing boats and nets are essential part of fishing industry. The sole proprietorship can handle only Maatubale, Gill-netter etc. The partnership ventures (many unregistered partnerships) or what we can call Association of Persons (AOPs) of Mogaveeras and with other communities are in this field. There are Naadadonies owned by Mogaveera community either sole proprietors or partnerships or AOPs.

Ownership of Large Boats & Nets

The modern fishing boats and nets are costly and require large investments and skilled workers. The sole proprietor-ship business cannot handle this type of venture. The partnership firms and limited companies are necessary to conduct such business. These areas of business are not in the hands of Mogaveera community. The share of Mogaveera community in this field is negligible.

Ownership of Boat building and Net Making

The next area of business is that of boat building, boat repairing, net manufacturing and procuring and sale of fishing equipments. These are important areas of fishing industry. Except some retail shops selling fishing equipments, all other business are largely in the hands of other communities.

Mogaveeras Part in Local Fish Trade

The fish caught are sold to various customers, namely, consumers, for curing it, for preparing fish meal,  fish oil, fish manure and preserving it by freezing, canning etc. for sale and also for export. In all these areas of fish business at the local level Mogaveeras community play significant role either as members of fisheries organizations, business entities or as an individual.

Mogaveeras Part in National & Export Trade

The fish trade and business at national and international level a large volume of trade and business is managed and controlled by other communities i.e. other than Mogaveeras.

Mogaveera Navigators

There are references of Mogaveera Navigators’ presence in Mumbai around 1530. Please refer to Chapter “Mogaveera Organizations” under the heading “Mogaveera Institutions in the State of Maharashtra” for details. The early part of 18th Century, the sea bound trade was dominated by vessels known as Naga or Pandies which was powered by sails. The mechanized boats were rare. The inter-port goods transport in Indian waters, international trade with gulf countries and Sri Lanka, mainly in dried and salted fish were handled by sail powered boats. Mogaveeras captained those vessels and manned them. Similarly, within the country, there were large number of river bound transportation of goods was through large boats which were also manned by Mogaveeras. The Mogaveeras have landed in Mumbai via sea route and also travelled up to Madras Port via Cochin port using sail bound vessels. Thus, navigation was one of the means of earning and also a means for migrating to other parts of India.

Mogaveeras as Agriculturists

Fishing being seasonal and in many a cases could not earn enough income, many Mogaveeras have taken up farming as their profession. In many cases, the coconut plantation and other farming activities supplemented the income. In many Mogaveera villages which are away from sea particularly at Bagwadi Hobal i (Kundapur Taluka), Mogaveeras adopted agriculture and animal husbandry as their main occupation. It is also not out of place to state here that many of Mogaveera Sawookars and Gurikars had interest in agricultural operation which gave them income and respect. Preservation of paddy till it is made into rice; it used to be stored in Tuppe a local storage device. A detailed study of agricultural activities of Mogaveeras is required as this appears to be the second largest occupation of Mogaveera community.

Mogaveeras in Employment

Educated Mogaveeras took up employment in private commercial institutions. The employment in Governments was very rare confined to teaching and post offices etc. The job in central government was unheard of. The Mogaveera students who had the benefit of education in Fisheries Schools at native place and Night High Schools at Mumbai took up employment in commercial banks, insurance companies and private offices after completing their higher education in Night Colleges. A small number of fortunate students of well-to-do families at Mangalore, Udupi and Kundapur had the benefit of higher education and have claimed some employment in native place. Even though Bangalore is nearer than Mumbai, number of Mogaveeras settled down in Bangalore was less and even now the same position continues. Hardy any Mogaveera secured employments in Class One posts at Centre (IAS etc.) and State Government (KAS etc.). These imbalances need to be corrected. Please see the list of Professionals in Chapter “Prominent Mogaveeras” wherein few prominent Mogaveeras employees are also included.

Mogaveeras in Professional Field

Until 1940 the education level in Mogaveera community was very pathetic. Mogaveeras were well educated community from 1960 and onwards. This is due to fisheries schools in coastal villages and night schools in Mumbai which gave basic education. These basic educational facilities in the beginning acted as a catalyst in bringing up later generation with better education. The Mogaveera community can boast of large number of professionally qualified people in the field of Medicine(Doctors), Engineering(Engineers), Architecture (Architects), Chartered Accountancy (C.As), Company Secretaries (C.Ss.), Cost & Works Accountancy, (I.C.& W.As), Management Studies (M.B.As.), in the field of Science (Scientists), Post Graduates, Doctorates (PhDs.) and in many other fields of study now. In the fields of Banking, Insurance, Pharmacy, Information Technology, Aviation etc. Mogaveera professionals have made a mark of their own. It requires to be tabulated to know the exact number and their field of specialization. Please see the list of Professionals in Chapter “Prominent Mogaveeras” wherein few prominent Mogaveera professionals are also included.

Mogaveeras in Business

Mogaveera community's participation in the business of fishing and fish trade has already been discussed in this chapter (under the heading "Fishing") are not repeated here. Briefly stated the few industrial undertaking relating to fish trade, such as, fish curing, ice plants, fish canning, fish manuring, extracting oil from fish, ice plants, freezing units, ship building, net making units etc. were taken up in few centers by Mogaveeras community. Some of the deep sea fishing operations is also managed by Mogaveeras. Compared to the volume of fishing business of State of Karnataka, a large portion is controlled by non-Mogaveeras. Recent years, Mogaveeras have ventured into other areas like the business of hotel, construction, retail shops, taking up of agencies, transportation of goods etc. There is no published data in respect of number of people engaged in trade and business and types of trade and business conducted. Therefore, no further attempt is being made to elaborate on this subject. Please see the list of businessmen in Chapter “Prominent Mogaveeras” wherein few prominent Mogaveera businessmen are also included.

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