Silver Winner

The Octopus Hunters

Photographer

Eduardo Moreno

Category

Editorial Photography - General News

Company

Social Photographer

Submission Group

Professional

Year

2021

Country / Region

Kenya

Women and men alike literally walk in the waters of the narrow sea channels of the Indian Ocean in Lamu, Kenya. Although they call themselves ‘fishermen’ in fact they look more like ‘hunters’ in search of octopus that hide in small caves of the corals during very low tides. These ‘hunters’ are armed with pointy wooden sticks and water cans or sacks used to store the octopus they catch. In an almost ghostly vision, men and women scatter across the vast territory of the sea to look for small holes from where they hope to extract the mollusks. Walking from the neighboring town of Shanga in Pate Island, the ‘hunters’ wear sandals and plastic shoes to avoid foot injuries when steeping on the rocky structures of the corals. Extracted from the holes in the reefs, where they came to feed, the octopuses try to cling with their eight sucker-bearing arms to the corals and thereafter to the bodies and clothes of the ‘hunters’. Finally, they are pierced by the wooden sticks and kept alive in the containers. The octopuses captured weigh between one to three kilos, and they are sold between two to six dollars each. ‘Hunters’ catch three mollusks per day. Although these are understandable survival actions, they end up causing irreparable damage to the environment by destroying multi-colored and multi-forms of corals that took thousands of years to grow and mature and are destroyed in a second by being stepped on by a sandal.

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