The Chinese fishing nets are one of the fascinating attractions of Kerala. Their beauty is attributed to their size, elegant construction and the way they work. The Chinese fishing nets are popularly known as Cheenavala in Kerala. The very name of these beautiful nets indicates that they are Chinese in origin. These were first introduced in Kochi, Kerala by the Chinese explorer Zheng He. Today these nets are mostly found on the beaches of Kochi and Vasco-da-Gama Square near the Fort Kochi. The places around Bastion Bungalow, Santa Cruz Basilica and VOC Gate are also dotted with the nets.
Chinese fishing nets are fixed land installations set up on bamboo or teak poles and are operated from the shores. Used for fishing, each net is at least 10 m in height and consists of a cantilever with an outstretched net suspended over the sea. For counterbalance large stones are suspended by rope at the other end. In order to operate each fishing net a team of at least six fishermen is required. The net is suspended in the mid air all along the coast. It is then left untouched for few minutes and then lifted gently by the team. Balance has to be maintained while raising the net.
Visit Kochi and see the fishermen using the Chinese fishing nets for catching fish in a unique way. Within few minutes they are able to catch a moderate amount of fish and crustaceans which you can buy for gratifying your taste buds. The best time to have a look at the Chinese fishing nets at Kochi is during sunset. That is the time when it looks perfect and picturesque. It seems as if a page from a fairy tale has been presented before you.