Chinese fishing nets, which have been in use for the last 500 years in Kerala are fast vanishing from the Kochi coastline. Poor catch and huge maintenance costs is forcing fishermen to look for other alternatives, mostly motor boats and catamarans with outboard engines.
‘Cheena Vala’, as they are known in local parlance, are the huge cantilevered fishing nets believed to have been brought by Portuguese from Macau, once a Portuguese colony. While some accounts mention that the nets were set up between AD 1350 and 1450 by traders from the court of Kubla Khan, some others say Chinese explorer Zhang He introduced the nets to Kochi shores.
Set up on bamboo and teak poles, the nets are fixed land installations for an unusual form of fishing — shore operated lift nets. Suspended horizontally over the sea, the nets give the appearance of a huge hammock.
Skies typically gather great hues and colours instantly changing the entire atmospehere to a romantic one as the sun begins to set.