Mexico

Butterfly Fishing


Dear Reader,

Mexico treasures hunt continues. This time Travel Buddy and I went to Pátzcuaro, in the Mexican state of Michoacán. Its lake hold about 8 islands with many particular tradition, especially the veneration and prayer for the dead. Below is the island of Janitzio.

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The island of Janitzio, located in the Pátzcuaro Lake in Michaocán. Prominent atop the island is a statue of José Maria Morelos, a great hero of Mexico’s War of Independence.

It’s here in this lake and around these islands that I discovered a unique thing: this town is famous for the fishermen who are skilled at lowering their butterfly-shaped nets to catch the local famous cuisine “pescado blanco”.

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These Butterfly Fishermen in their traditional canoes, each carved from a single tree-trunk, looking for white fish, or else known as the local delicacy “Pescado Blanco”. In the background is Isla Janitzio, home of these unique fishermen.

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The nets, which the fishermen employ are also traditional, and give the boats a fancied appearance of butterflies, hence the name.

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Apart from the unique look, this method helps catching those fish and other creature that can only be found right below the surface as the butterfly-net works as a “spoon” and lifts up the fish and shrimps.

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Another strategy used by these fishermen is to form a circle of nets. The fishermen reach the center of the lake and form a circle with their little canoes and nets to scare the fish and force them to swim towards the net and get trapped in them. As tourism has brought lots of little power boats that take people from one island to another, fish tend to be scarce in the middle of the lake, therefore the fishermen technique over the years became more of a touristic attraction rather than an actual job.

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This picture I took it from the high summit of Janitzio where you can appreciate the circle of fishermen waiting to be photographed by tourists passing by on power boats.

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