Chinese fishing nets disappearing from Kochi shoreline


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Kochi, June 30: Chinese fishing nets, in use for the last 500 years and one of the tourist attractions in Kerala, are fast vanishing from the Kochi coastline as huge maintenance costs and poor catch is forcing fishermen to look for other alternatives.

Called 'Cheena Vala' in local parlance, the huge cantilevered fishing nets are 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.

There were at least 30 Chinese nets on the Fort Kochi and Vypeen shorelines about 10 years ago which have now been reduced to 20, including 11 in Fort Kochi, says Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) Kerala convenor, K J Sohan.