The photo shows the ‘Chinese’ fishing nets along the shore of Fort Kochi in Kerala, India. The concept is thought to have been introduced by Chinese settlers/travellers, hence the name. The technical term is something along the lines of ‘shore-based lift nets’, which actually describes them quite well. The large nets are attached to a short wooden jetty and lowered into the water, allowing fish to pass over them. When the nets are lifted up again – usually after only a few minutes – the fish are trapped and can be picked off by hand.
The mechanism for lowering and lifting the net is a complex system of ropes, cantilevers, and counterweights. Obviously, the better balanced the structure is, the less effort is required in lowering and lifting the net.
We spent quite a bit of time watching these fascinating devices going into and coming out of the water. The catches were usually quite small, though. More often than not there was more floating rubbish in the net than fish. The catches are sold in little huts immediately behind the installations.
Below is another shot of some of the nets along the shoreline, this time from the other side.