It is one of the main attractions of Kerala, which beckons tourists from far off places to witness the pleasure of fishing. One can buy fresh fish near the Chinese Fishing Nets and enjoy the luxury to get them cooked in any nearby stall in exchange of a small amount.
It is quite challenging to figure out the history or the origin of Chinavala or the Chinese Fishing Nets. According to popular verbal accounts, the word 'Chinese' is prefixed to these nets, most likely because earlier Kerala had business associations with China. Possibly the Chinese traders left this ongoing legacy to the people of the state of Kerala. The Chinese fishing net is a mammoth mechanism. A giant wooden scaffold supports the nylon net which is set up on two axis poles attached to a base. As a rule three or four men work on the net, which is about 10 m high.
Throughout high tide, when the Chinese Fishing net is let down into the water, one pole goes down with the net, while the other goes up with the boulders. Like a huge scoop, the net shovels out its harvest of fish from the water. Predominantly the fresh water fish that drift towards the shoreline, are trapped in these Chinese fishing nets. However, due to the forceful water currents these nets cannot be cast during the period of torrential rain.
The number of nets cast are comparatively lesser in number due to the cost factor as setting up these Chinese fishing nets are rather expensive. Moreover with the gradual change of time, where technically modern mechanisms are implemented to cultivate the deep seas for more affluent catches of fish, the Chinese fishing nets appear to be highly back dated. But one can hardly deny the fact that the Chinese fishing nets very aptly have proved to be the only effective means of fishing in the backwaters of Kerala over the period of time.