Cuban anglers living off the country’s average salary of $25 can’t afford to cover the cost of boats and fishing equipment needed to catch fish. Some fishermen can’t even afford to pay the price for gasoline needed to fuel motorboats. Their lack of assets and money has led some Cubans to try out an innovative and interesting way to provide for their families: Fishing with condoms. “Balloon fishing,” as Cubans call it, is a low-cost yet highly effective way fishermen have been able to capture fish with limited resources, CBS News reported Wednesday.
Using homemade floats made from blown-up condoms, which only cost a few cents, fishermen are able to cast their lines nearly 900 feet into the coastal waters along the Havana seawall. Local fisherman said no one has been able to cast a line that far by hand. Balloon fishing also allows fishermen to keep bait high in the water. The floats are durable and are able to resist the strength of red snapper or bonitos trying to pull away from the line.
Fishing without a license in Cuba is illegal. Fishermen said balloon fishing is a cheap and discreet way to fish without a fishing license to avoid catching a 3,000 peso ($120) fine. The fishermen that practice balloon fishing are mostly using their catches to feed their families.
It's unclear how long Cuban fisherman have been practicing balloon fishing, but according to local fisherman folklore, the creative fisherman behind the practice got the idea after watching a video of Africans fishing with kites and decided to try inflated condoms instead.
President Barak Obama has loosened the U.S. embargo against Cuba, allowing more American travel and giving U.S. travelers permission use their credit cards and bring home small amounts of Cuban Cigars. Some U.S. companies are now able to export telephone, computer and Internet technologies, and some firms are able to make investments in some small Cuban businesses.
The embargo has cost Cuba almost a trillion dollars in losses since it was introduced by President John. F. Kennedy in 1962.