Dispatches from Fort Kochi: Chinese Fishing Nets

Just metres from Brunton Boatyard, right by the water’s edge and in the very centre of Fort Kochi’s rumpus, are the Chinese Fishing Nets. These giant installations are truly iconic, standing proud in all their cantilevered glory. You’ve seen them, even if you didn’t know what they were, and even if you’ve never been to Kochi, that’s how much of an emblem of Kerala they’ve become.

We’re all for sustainable consumption, and anything that allows us to do our bit toward giving those sea-bed sweeping trawlers a miss, while supporting the small fishermen whose livelihood centres around these giant nets. They’re lowered into the water daily, skillfully worked by a very enthusiastic task-force, and see a modest catch of fish and crustaceans with every dip.

Stop by the nets for a peek into the catch of the day, take your pick, and get it cooked (your way) at any one of the many stalls you’ll find in the vicinity. We got a Kingfish pan-fried, with a basic smattering of spice - salt, pepper, and a dash of red chilli powder. We picked it apart with our fingers, savouring the taste of the sea. This is about as fresh as it gets.