Artisanal Coastal Community of Thiruvananthapuram

in Module
Published on: 04 January 2017

Robert Panipilla

Coming from a coastal family, Robert Panippila has had long years of research in marine ecology and coastal culture. He lives on the coast and is deeply interested in preserving the knowledge and traditions of the artisanal community.

Till the late 1980s, small-scale, artisanal fishing was prevalent in Thiruvananthapuram. With the advent of mechanized boats and other innovative methods of fishing, indigenous practices were gradually sidelined. Now only a small section of the community engages in artisanal fishing and Thiruvananthapuram is probably the only coastal area in Kerala where it is still practised.


The artisanal fishing community is a treasure house of skills and knowledge. They tell stories of bravery and sing songs as they engage in a gruelling fight against the forces of nature. They rely on the sky and stars for a successful fishing expedition and a safe return to the shore. It is imperative to preserve this rapidly vanishing tradition.