Thursday, December 27, 2012

Cheenavala (Chinese lift nets) in Fort Kochi ..

The Chinese lift nets (cheenavala) in the backdrop of the setting sun
I was under the impression that only Fort Kochi and another port in Vietnam were the only two ports in the world where one could find such Chinese fishing nets ( lift net). Even in China it has disappeared centuries ago .. My friend from Africa also says that he has seen a smaller version of these chinese lift nets in the Lamu archipelago in Northern Kenya Somalia border ..

Here is a wikipedia entry on these chinese nets, very informative, mentioning its working and the innovation done to catch fishes at different levels of the tide...

It is indeed a very complicated piece of machinery. History talks of these nets having come to position by 13 to 14 century AD..

A beautiful sight of Kochi and one which will enchant the world for centuries to come !!

Francis day in his 1862 book Perumals of Kerala states thus about the nets of Cochin– A species of Chinese nets, are used along the river's banks, they are about 16 feet square, suspended by bamboos from each corner, and let down like buckets into the water, and then after a few minutes drawn up again ; a piece of string to which is attached portions of the white leaves of the cocoanut trees, is tied at short intervals along the ebb side of the net, which effectually prevents fish from going that way. As this mode of fishing is continued all through the monsoon, (excepting on very stormy days,) it affords an excellent criterion, of the tribes and species to be found in the rainy months, and renders Cochin the best place along the Western Coast, for making observations on this subject: owing to this, the Icthyologist can continue his enquiries, (with occasional intervals,) during the boisterous, as well as the quiet months of the year, although the sea netting may be quite suspended. Fish thus caught, are sold at the nets.

Whatever be it said and done, we cannot forget the contribution of Chinese to world Science (pyrotechnics and gunpowder), agriculture (wooden till), technology (magnetic compass), way of life (silk, tea and porcelain), fishing (Chinese lift nets) and what not.. Hope the world also realises this sooner and assign China the rightful place in the development of humanity and civilisations in the world.

Image courtesy : Varghese Naveen


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