Chinese Fishing Nets
The Chinese fishing nets are fixed land installations for an unusual form of fishing — shore operated lift nets. The huge cantilevered fishing nets are the legacy of one of the first visitors to the Malabar Coast. Erected here between 1350 and 1450 by traders from the court of Kublai Khan, these nets are set up on teak wood and bamboo poles. The best place to watch the nets being lowered into the sea, and the catch being brought in, is the Vasco de Gama Square, a narrow promenade that runs along the beach. The Chinese fishing nets have become a very popular tourist attraction, their size and elegant construction is very photogenic and the slow rhythm of their operation is quite hypnotic.
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 20 meters over the water and is operated by a team of six fishermen. 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.