Series of May 2021

Fotografie měsíce

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Foto Měsíce

Fishermen on Horses

Photo: Milan Jaroš / Respekt

“Five hundred years ago, catching shrimps on horses supported thousands of families from Belgium and France to Great Britain. Today, there are only seventeen fishermen in the world who are keeping this method of catching shrimps alive. All of them fish at the seaside resort of Oostduinkerke, a town with a population of eight thousand in north-west Belgium.

Paardenvissers – fishermen on horses – were a dying breed. But then Belgium succeeded in its application for its traditional method of catching shrimp to get onto UNESCO’s Cultural Heritage List. This meant a couple of things. One result was that they were able to get grants for activities which would otherwise in all likelihood have died out, because a net pulled by horses cannot compete with a fleet of fishing boats.

From the shore, the team of paardenvissers take on the appearance of a slow-motion film. The horses, often wading in water up to their stomachs, move slowly through the water so as not to be affected by the current or waves. The fishermen lead them parallel to the shore, because the small grey shrimp they are catching live in longitudinal colonies.

Ten years ago, the fishermen were able to catch up to fifteen kilograms of shrimp in this way, but today the warming of the sea means they can catch between five and six kilos at most,” says Milan Jaroš of how the series came about.

Milan Jaroš

Milan Jaroš (born 1979 in Prague) studied at FAMU’s Department of Photography. He has worked for the magazine Respekt as a permanent photographer since 2008. He has also collaborated with many international newspapers and magazines, such as Wire, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Chicago Tribune. He has won a number of awards for his photography in the Czech Press Photo, Frame and Unicef Photo Award contests. He won Photograph of the Year in 2012 at the Czech Press Photo contest for his picture, Farewell to Václav Havel.

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