Oostduinkerke, 8670 Koksijde, Belgium
Horseback shrimp fishingAt Oostduinkerke, visitors can get a taste of a fisherman’s life from the past. Here, folklore is kept alive because it's the only place in Europe where the trade of horseback shrimp fishing is still practiced. You can watch the fishermen at work during low tide, attend the cooking demonstrations that are regularly held along the beach, or buy freshly caught grey shrimp. They do not catch enough to sell to everybody so be there early. Check out the calendar to find when they do it and when they cook the shrimp on the beach.
Shrimp fishermen are on horseback wearing bright yellow slickers and tall rubber boots, seated in their wooden saddles on the back of their horses that drag the large nets behind them.
The horses are in the water up to the top of their legs. Draft horses which are famous for their massive strength, are used for this job.
Every now and then, the fishermen and their horses will return to the shore to empty their nets and deposit their catch in the baskets hung from each side of the horses.
If you are lucky to get any, the grey shrimp caught by fishermen on horseback are exceptionally fresh and are a delicacy when cooked.
In the old days, when there was no high tech way of fishing and this was the only way, I imagine people would wait with such excitement for the fishermen to come back with the catch. I love the old man in the photo.