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Kerala Chinese Fishing Nets

Once a cultural symbol of Kerala, the Chinese fishing nets are a type of stationary lift net in India. As the name suggests, these types of nets are used throughout coastal southern China and Indochina. In India, these fishing nets are mostly found in Kerala, where they are now a tourist attraction. Chinese fishing nets are to Kochi what the painted face of a Kathakali actor is to the state of Kerala, when it comes to promoting tourism. These shore operated lift nets are operated by a group of fishermen in Kochi, Vypeen and Cherai in Kerala.

According to Legend, these fishing nets were introduced by the famous Chinese explorer, Zheng He. He introduced these nets to the fishermen in Kochi over 500 years ago. These antique fishing nets have now become the signature style of Kochi in Kerala.  Each structure is at least 10 meter high and comprises a plank with an extended net balanced over the sea, and large stones suspended from ropes as counterweights at the other end. According to most of the tour guides, the Vasco da Gama Square is the best spot to get the perfect view of these massive structures.

Usage of Chinese Fishing Nets
One of the most interesting features of the Chinese fishing nets is that these nets are described as the most non-violent form of fishing. How these nets work is that the anglers expect the fishes to swim into these nets, before lifting up the catch. The net stays submerged in water until enough fishes submerge into it. It is then that the net is lifted, to trap the fishes.

The catch through these nets are usually modest, and are sold to the passerby or tourists within minutes. Rocks of various weights are suspended from ropes of different lengths. As the net is raised, some of the rocks one-by-one come to rest on a platform thereby keeping everything in balance.

Tourism and Chinese Fishing nets
Chinese fishing nets are not just a mode of fishing but are also a symbol that describes Kochi. These nets have become a popular tourist attraction, and the size and construction of these nets is quite elegant with a hypnotic slow pace of operation.

Current Scenario
The Chinese Fishing Nets are a perfect symbol of Indian culture and history. Most of the nets are owned and operated by private owners, although being used as a symbol of Kerala Tourism. The private owners of the nets have been reinforcing the nets every now and then making them stronger and larger, losing the traditional style.

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