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Stilt fishing in Sri Lanka

Anura Wijewikrama fishes two hours each morning and two hours each evening. And like his grandfather and father before him, he does so on handmade stilts driven into the sand. He is one of the few still carrying on the practice, which is exclusively found in the stunning waters off Sri Lanka. What started as a World War II-era reaction to food and boat shortages is now done to keep tradition alive, with stilt fishermen like Anura taking on other jobs to make ends meet.

This Great Big Story captures The Last of the Stilt Fishers in Sri Lanka, a fishing method that originated in the 1940s and is still practiced in small beach towns like Weligama as a sight for visiting tourists.

Plus, from Phaidon in 2012, Magnum photographer Steve McCurry talks about his famous photo of stilt fishermen: “So many of these young men now find it more profitable to work in the tourist industry. We’ll look back in years to come and be amazed at the method of fishing and how we once were as a planet. It’s very important to document these kinds of events.”

Watch more videos in Sri Lanka and more fishing, including The Black Egret’s Umbrella Trick and the kingfisher’s incredible river dives.

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