Chinese Fishing Nets
The Chinese fishing nets at Fort Kochi, located in the Kochi city of Kerala, make up a very popular tourist attraction. They are fixed land installations, which are used for a very unique and unusual method of fishing. Operated from the shore, these nets are set up on bamboo and teak poles and held horizontally by huge mechanisms, which lower them into the sea. They look somewhat like hammocks and are counter-weighed by large stones tied to ropes.
The entire structure of the Chinese fishing nets is about 10 meters in height. Each fishing net spreads to about 20 meters over the water body and is operated by a team of some six fishermen. Each net has a limited operating depth. Due to this, an individual net cannot be repeatedly operated in tidal waters. There are different fishing nets for operation, depending on the state of the tide. The whole paraphernalia is such that that the weight of a man walking along the main beam is sufficient to cause the net to descend into the sea.
The net is left into the water for a short time; say for four-five minutes, before it is raised back by tugging the ropes. The catch is usually modest, but these can be sold to the passersby in a jiffy. The Chinese Fishing Nets of Cochin are said to have their origin in China. This is not totally impossible, as China is located at a distance of 5,000 km from Kochi and the city has always been an important center for trade, attracting traders and seafarers from far and near.
Legend has it that the Chinese Fishing Nets were introduced in Fort Kochi by the Chinese explorer, Zheng He. They were brought from the court of Chinese emperor, Kublai Khan and have been in operation here since that time only. Just take a stroll by the Vasco-da-gama Square near the Fort Cochin and you are bound to come across a number of Chinese fishing nets, suspended in mid-air, alongside the seacoast.