Chinese Fishing Nets

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River Road, Cochin, India

Chinese Fishing Nets Cochin Reviews

Toonsarah Toonsarah
566 reviews
Chinese fishing nets and waterfront Feb 15, 2017
The famous traditional Chinese fishing nets are so-called because it was the Chinese who first introduced this style of fishing to Kerala. If you want a detailed look at their workings you'll need to tip the fishermen - I felt the 100 rupees we paid for the two of us, at our guide's suggestion, was worth it for the photo opportunities we got and the better understand of the mechanism which came with having a go on the ropes ourselves! The heavy stones on the ropes provide the counter-balance as the large net is raised and lowered, which is done every few minutes. At this time of year the catches aren't usually great (the net we helped to raise held just one small fish and a crab too tiny to keep). So the tourist tips help supplement the men's income - another reason to go and get involved!

Mary, our guide, explained the economics of these small businesses. Each net is owned by a proprietor who pays a fee to the local government for their spot on the waterfront. The proprietor employs four men to work the net who are not paid a salary but instead all get a share of the money made by selling the catch at the nearby market - as does the proprietor of course. With his share (which I am sure is the larger part) he must not only pay the government fee but also maintain the net and the working mechanism. As in so many places, it is becoming harder to attract young people to do this kind of work and there is a real risk that these traditional fishing methods will die out. Already several nets stand idle as their owner can't get the men to work them.

Near here you can see the numerous small black boats which are used to get further out into the channel to catch the larger fish. These small boats are still made the traditional way, with planks of wood "stitched" together with coir rope (although increasingly more durable plastic covered wire is used in place of the latter). The black colour comes from a mix of turpentine and sardine oil used to make them waterproof.
Chinese fishing net
Fisherman checking the catch
Boat repairs
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photo by: Toonsarah