Small Scale Fishing in Panama

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 I started my career as a cultural anthropologist by studying fishing communities -- in particular, small-scale family based commercial fishing communities. When we were in Panama last summer we came across a family setting a fishing net off the beach. I was thrilled. That's me in the back of the picture with our good friend Katherine who is helping translate my English to Spanish to ask questions. I could say a lot about that morning, but one little story is about what I am doing in the picture. I asked the older man if I could help him bring in the rope. He motioned that would be fine. What I quickly found out is that the work was much harder than it seemed. Pulling yards and yards of rope on a sandy beach in the Panamanian heat and humidity is a chore. And there I was, learning by doing, embodying the work, feeling what it felt like (at least a little bit) to live and work as a small scale commercial fisher on the beaches of Panama.