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Negombo Fish Market

Negombo made its start as a fishing community, and fishermen today continue to hawk their wares on the city’s sandy shores. Starting from as early as 4AM, fishing boats begin to make their way to the beach laden with that morning’s catch. Shrimps, crabs and lobsters are hunted at the famous Negombo Lagoon, while fresh fish is hauled in from the waves of the Indian Ocean.

Visitors that walk the shores of Negombo beach can witness the day’s catch being laid out on enormous mats made of coconut fibre. Using an age-old method of open-air drying, the fishermen use the heat of the sun to remove all moisture from the fish and extend their shelf life. It will then get salted before being shipped to all over the island and sold in stores; dried fish is a very common inclusion of Sri Lankan cuisine.

Adjacent to the shores of drying fish, the wet market is where fresh seafood can be bought. Ranging from of offers of tuna, mackerel, squid, sardines and shark, the market is said to be closed on Sundays when the city’s predominantly Catholic population heads to church. However, some Muslim fishermen still operate on Sunday (their religious day of the week being Friday), so it is still possible to witness the fishing community in action.

While some of the fish for sale at the market are brought in fresh, others have been brought in from larger wholesalers in the morning to be sold here. The best fish are sold to local hotels and restaurants before being relegated to either the marketplace or to being dried under the sun on the beach.