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Fishermen “pick up money” on coral reefs

At 4 p.m., the tide recedes rapidly revealing coral reefs stretching over 1km. That was the time when fishermen in Tam Hai island commune were busy bringing their tools to the fishing ground.

It was as if the sun was pouring down on the sea, the whole cliffs infiltrated the water in Thuan An village, Tam Hai island commune (Nui Thanh district, Quang Nam) shining brightly in the afternoon light. In the seagoing season, the boats at the beach are completely absent, and only a few boats are still engaged in fishing at the end of the season.

Fishermen “pick up money” on coral reefs
When the tide recedes, the jagged, rough rocks are gradually exposed. This is where many people go looking for seafood such as snails, clams, etc.

From the residential areas, silhouettes of women also appear behind the green coconut groves, each of them holding in their hands clever baskets to “pick up” clams, snails, scallops… The profession of “picking” seafood is popular with people. People like to go to “pick up money” on the reef, although there is not much, it is enough for a meal with more meat, children have more books before the new school year.

People who do this job are mainly women, go in small groups of 3-5 people to support each other, or have more people to chat with. Under the scorching sun of the Central region this season, small figures flutter in the middle of the water, groping in the sand and rock holes in search of seafood.

With one hand groping in the sand, the other hand holding a plastic bucket, Ms. Tran Thi Lien (65 years old, in Thuan An village) said that depending on the time of high tide, the job usually lasts 3-4 hours. end. Lucky days find many expensive snails such as moon snails, shellfish … also earn a few hundred thousand dong, a few days at least a few tens of thousands, enough money for the market.

According to Ms. Lien, fishing for seafood according to this tide usually starts from February to the end of August of the lunar calendar.

“We sea people can’t starve to death, every season we stay awake, from harvesting seaweed to picking seaweed jam, gleaning seafood… just work hard to live ,” said Mrs. Lien with a smile.

Ms. Tran Thi Lien (65 years old) every day groping for hours underwater in search of seafood.

To go to the middle of the reef, the women must wear sandals or socks, avoid jagged, rough stones under their feet and hats, masks always cover their faces. Due to the topography, the fishing here is mainly by hand, cannot use large rake to catch like some other sea areas.

In addition to digging by hand, some people also use long iron rods bent at the top to scratch thick and large rocks. However, either way, they must use the strength of their hands to scratch and grope under the mud and rocks. Not only that, the job also requires hard work. Working in the hot sun makes it easy to get heatstroke. Due to soaking for many hours in water, skin diseases are difficult to avoid.

In addition to clams and oysters, when lucky, seafood seekers also find moon snails, cone snails …

Even at the age of 85, Nguyen Thi Xuan (Thuan An village) is still sharp and agile. Every day, he still goes with the women in the village to scratch clams.

“I’m old and can’t swim in floating water anymore, so I just go to the edge of the reef to scratch. One day, I scratched about 3 kg of clams, sold more than 80,000 VND, saved the market and bought betel nut to eat to help. sad,” said Xuan with a smile.($1=24,000 VND)

Also according to Mr. Xuan, the clams here after harvesting do not need to be brought to the market to sell, people go to rake to bring back, there will be traders coming to each house to buy.

Every season, this island commune has immense waves. Standing on this side of the river, looking from the mainland, still see the silhouettes of women on the reef looking lonely and lonely among the waves of day and night rushing into the dunes. They are women who patiently cling to the water to make a living.

The women walk backwards to scratch the clams.
In addition to digging by hand, a small rake or a large iron bar that is bent at the tip to find under thick and large rocks is also used.
At the age of 85, Nguyen Thi Xuan still picks snails and scratches clams every day.

Photo: Internet (

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