Can you imagine sleeping on top of salted fish? Do you think you can get used to it? Twenty five years ago for some fishermen there was no choice, and here is the simple crude story.
When the lobster season ended on the 15" of February, the lobster fishermen' and skin
divers turned to fishing. During March and April the same boats used for lobster fishing -
were loaded with food rations and tons of salt and headed to "Cayo Luna" (Half Moon
Caye) to fish the grouper, which came near the reef to spawn or lay their eggs. These
groupers came in the millions, and with a hand line and two or three hooks at its end, a
fisherman could land one hundred or more groupers in a day or up to 500 among the crew
Seferino Paz (deceased), Tio Pil and Leoli Varela were among the popular buyers who took the produce to Guatemala and Honduras to sell during the Lent season, a period when fervent Catholics abstain from eating any kind of meat and survive on fish alone. This was a very profitable business that our local fisherman and buyers had skillfully tapped into, and it provided an excellent income during the closed lobster season.
Besides the salting of fish, the fish roe or its eggs, was salted and sold locally or internationally. Fish, roe sold for 10 or 15 cents a pair (never weighed) and one boat alone used to bring 2 to 3 thousand groupers and 8 or 10 boxes of fish eggs.
People on land used to smell the grouper for several days when the boats were anchored in front of the village. The men's clothing smelled. like fish and the wives or mothers had to deal with that laundry. Imagine, sleeping for a week on top of salted, dry fish. Well, that was life Twenty Five years ago.