- Posted August 9, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
The written word: Your personal essays
The polka dot crab
My father is a fisherman. Now, at 64, he still goes to the sea to fish. However, he doesn’t swim or dive unto the seabed like he did when he was young.
For us, the sea gives food to us.
When I was a kid, I was excited waiting for my father who returned home with lots of fishes and crabs in his fishing basket. And my mother, who’s also seamstress, would go the neighbourhood to sell the catch. The remaining fishes, usually the small ones, would be used for the family.
My father told me that there’s a garden under the sea. It is very vast. I know what my father was talking about when I went snorkelling and diving in Balicasag Island. I was thrilled to see schools of fish and other sea creatures. How I wish I can go to deep sea fishing.
My father and other fishermen in our place know the movement of the wind, sea and birds. So, I always inquire him if a typhoon is coming to our place.
"There are plenty of other fish in the sea" goes an old cliché. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) Red List of endangered species, 1,414 species of fish, or 5 percent of the world's known species, are at risk for extinction. While habitat loss and pollution are significant factors in the decline of these species, the greatest threat by far is overfishing.
Did my father catch an endangered fish or sea creature? There were times when he caught endangered sea creatures like sea turtle, manta ray, grouper or even a humphead parrotfish, but he released them back into the water.
Even though my father is “semi-retired” to go fishing (he is an occasional carpenter but was a laborer in his 20s), he still has time to fix his “panggaw” or fish basket made of bamboo while listerning to his favorite radio programs. No, he stopped smoking in 2007.
Lately, my father goes to the sea to check if there is any fish caught in his “panggaw” he lowered unto the sea for many days. Things are very different now. Before his basket was loaded with plenty of fish, the catch becomes less and less. It looks like the “Old Man and the Sea.” But look, inside the “panggaw” is one beautiful creature, the polka dot crab. At first, it looks like a toy but it’s really a crab. It is so much different from other polka dot crab I saw on a TV documentary.
In my research, I am not sure if this polka dot crab is listed as an endangered species. But wait, from the sea to the kitchen, the crab is good for a hungry stomach.
As always, we thank the Lord for the blessings. Burp! Burp!
P.S. I still have the empty shell of the polka dot crab for souvenir.