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Fishing Crafts and Gears in Lakes of India

Fishing crafts

Dingi

Dingi.JPG

The crafts are plank built, made up locally using Shisham wood. The dugout canoes were very common in the lake (Suraha Lake, Uttar Pradesh) in earlier days but is rare now. The size of boat varies from 42 – 45 cm in length and 8 - 10 cm in width. The boat preservatives ie. painting with bitumen, act as water-resistant and protect crafts from decay and destruction. It also gives long life to the craft besides making the boat leak proof. Every six months the craft is completely painted by the dammar. The manufacturing cost of the boat is estimated around Rs. 8000-10000 with a life span of 8-10 years.

Coracle

Coracles are light in weight, bowl shaped boats with a frame of woven grass, reeds, or saplings covered with hides. Over the years, these circular crafts were constructed by interwoven strips of bamboo and covered with water proof materials such as plastic bags coated with a layer of coal tar. The boat size ranges between 1.50 - 2.00 meters dia. The coracle weight ranges between 10 - 15kg. A single oar is used to propel the coracle. Two fishers conduct the fishing in a coracle. Gillnet and long line are the common fishing methods. Apart from being simple and inexpensive, these are durable (2 – 3 years) and have good movability in all water bodies. It is profoundly used in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka.

Dhoni

Dhoni.JPG

It is a long dug-out canoe made from carved out basal part of the trunk of a palmyra tree. It is around 3 - 4m length and with an internal diameter of 0.5m. The major portion of the trunk is longitudinally scooped out for sitting and keep the captured fish. Wooden bar is sometimes fixed in the mid region of the scooped out part for sitting and to avoid collapse of the canoe. Margins of the scooped out part is framed by circular iron frames in some canoes to prevent from splitting. It is operated by a single person due to its small size. The narrow width of this gear also facilitates rolling movements, and hence skilled individuals operate these canoes to maneuver it effectively.

Plank built boats

Palnk bult boat.JPG

These are spindle shaped and constructed by joining quality wooden planks with iron nails. Joints are leak proofed by applying coal tar. Small and large sized plank built rowing boats are commonly used in the lakes. The smaller boats are 5 - 6m long with 80 - 90cm beam width and used for transport of harvested fish and also passengers from village to village within the lake. They are non-mechanized and manually operated. Bigger boats are about 15 - 20m long and are mechanized. They are used to transport fish to landing centers.

Thermocol raft

Themocol boat.JPG

It is an improvised country made fishing craft made of used thermocol boxes and slices (for fish preservation and transport). The required number of thermocol boxes and slices is tied together with the help of nylon ropes to make a platform of length 4 - 5m length with 1m width. It is commonly operated by children of 10 - 15 years of age for setting and collection of traps, transport of catch and fish capture near the lake shore.

Fishing gears

Hook and line

Hook and line.JPG

It is one of the oldest and widely used fishing methods which are not commercially used and fish caught is consumed by fishermen family itself. Catching of fish in which fishes are caught individually is based on feeding and hunting behaviour of fish species. In this technique, fish are caught with the help of baits tied to a metal hook tied with one end of a strong nylon thread and the other end of nylon thread is tied to a bamboo pole of different lengths to dip the metal hook supplied with bait in the water. Earthworms, Grasshoppers, small sized fish and trash fish pieces are commonly used as baits. Attracted to the bait, fish swallow and gets entrapped by the hooks are caught by pulling up the threads. Catfishes and murrel are caught with this technique.

Box trap

box trap.JPG

It is a fishing device in which fish are enticed by enclosures where they are guided to enter the trap. It is the chief gear used for fishing in the lake to catch different species and sizes of fish. These are made of split bamboo sticks woven with the long pliable stems of a creeper called Good apala Theega. Catching fish through traps is a passive process. Baits are kept inside the traps sometimes to attract fish. The rectangular shape basket trap is the most extensively operated gear and accounts for major part of the catches. It has two vertical openings, one on each long side. Each vertical opening is fixed with a series of inwardly directed, short, pointed bamboo sticks interwoven in such a way that the tips of the two series of splints cross each other. This type of arrangement only permits easy entry of the fish but not their exit. Three types of basket traps are regularly used in this area.

Tubular trap

Tablular trap.JPG

It is funnel like (Gampa) seasonal (October to January) trap made of split bamboo slivers used to catch small and medium size fish. It is about 1 - 2m long with a wide mouth (85cm diameter) at one end and with a narrow opening at another end. The narrow end is attached to a large basket (Gari), narrow and longer than gampa and provided with a valve-like arrangement which allows entry of fish but not exit.

Bag net

Bag net.JPG

It is a bag like net with framed mouth. It is more or less circular made up of nylon with a mesh size of 2 - 3 mm and depth of a bag is about 0.5 - 1m provided with a circular iron frame and a long handle made with a bamboo pole. This net can be horizontally extended when scooping it through the water column. Fishes entering the bag net are caught due to water filtering. Net is operated in shallow water regions of the lake either from the banks or the dugout canoes by inserting the net inside water below the aquatic weeds or in the weed infested area. This net is also used as a passive gear while fish catching through ‘gaya’ method. This net can also be used to collect mollusks (Duck feed & fish bait) by dragging or scooping over the bottom of the lake bed.

Hand lift net

hand lift net.JPG

It is a small, portable hand operated net  used in the shallow region of the river to catch small sized fish. It is a rectangular shape dip lift net supported by an X-shaped bamboo frame. A frame is made of two flexible bamboo poles of equal lengths. Four corners of the net are tied into four corners of the bamboo frame. This mobile scooping gear is dipped in shallow waters for some time and then lifted up rapidly from water to catch the entrapped fish which happen to be over the net by hand picking.

Cast net

Cast net.JPG

The cast net is operated in shallow waters of the lake where depth is about 2 - 3m. It is circular net having umbrella shape made of nylon fibers. The cast net is a falling gear and operation of cast net is an active fish catching process. Iron or lead sinkers are fixed along the margin, and a strong rope of 5 - 6m is attached to the apex of the net to haul the net during its operation. Size of the mesh ranges from 20 - 45mm and perimeter range from 10 - 18m based the size of the fishes to be caught. These nets can be operated single handedly in which fishermen throw the net conveniently and skillfully over the water either from a boat or the banks of the lake in such a way that it spreads on the water surface fully expanded at its perimeter and cord is held in hand at its apex. Net sinks to the bottom of the lake with closed circumference due to the weight provided by sinkers provided. Small fishes such as carps and catfishes caught with these nets then pulled with the help of the cord

Drag Net

Drag net.JPG

Drag net is used to encircle certain region of the lake to catch a detected fish school by dragging the net or scooping it out with other gears. It is very effective gear to catch the wild fish population and is more suitable for huge water bodies such lake Kolleru. During its operation, one end is fixed at the bank of the lake, and the other end is to be towed in an arc around the fish shoal to surround them, and a boat or Dhoni is used to pull the net into a large area before its hauling to the bank of the lake.

Gill net

Gill net.JPG

Gill net is a passive rectangular gear. This net is erected in water column vertically perpendicular to the movement of fish with the help of head and foot ropes provided with sinkers and floats respectively. As fish attempt to swim through the mesh of the net, they become snagged by their gill operculum, fins or by their scales. Small undersized fish usually can swim through the mesh unharmed, whereas excessively large fish are unable to penetrate the mesh sufficiently to become trapped. Characteristics such as simplicity in its operation, design, and construction, low investments attract the fishermen to use it extensively. Nets of smaller size are operated in the shallow regions of the lake depth ranging from 1 - 2m where as large sized ones are relatively used in the deeper areas of the lake at 2 to 4m depth.

Sources

  • Baruah, D., Dutta, A. and Pravin, P., 2013. Traditional fish trapping devices and methods in the Brahmaputra valley of Assam. Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge. 12: 123 -129
  • Devi, B.N., Mishra, S.K., Das, L., Pawar, N.A. and Chanu, T., 2013. Traditional fishing methods in Central valley region of Manipur, India. Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge.2013: 137 -143.
  • Raju, C.S., Rao, J.C.S., Rao, K.G. and Simhachalam, G. 2016. Fishing methods, use of indigenous knowledge and traditional practices in fisheries management of Lake Kolleru. Journal of Entomology and Zoology Studies 4 (5), 37, p.44.
  • Rama Rao. K. 2014. A Study On Fishing Craft And Gear In Lower Manair Dam, Karimnagar Dt. Andhra Pradesh, India. International Journal of Multidisciplinary Educational Research. 3(2): 1-21
  • Rama Rao. K. (2014). Diversity of Ornamental Fishes in Lower Manair Dam at Karimnagar Dt. Andhra Pradesh. IOSR Journal of Pharmacy and Biological Sciences. 9 (1): 20-24


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