Chennai Lounge Travel Review

Dragnet fishing of Anchovy

For the Pongal holidays I had brought my son to Mahabalipuram, where we are staying in the new Intercontinental Chennai Resort. Today morning I got up early (6 AM) and went for a walk in the beach sands overlooking the waters of Bay of Bengal. After sometime I noticed fishermen in strength casting a huge net in the waters. A fishing boat went out in the waters to spread the net, with 2 swimmers standing in mid water untangling the cables. Later googling I learned the net is called a seine and the fishing technique is called Seine fishing.


The two ends of the big dragnet was handled/dragged from shore by about 10-15 strongmen each side. It was a sight to remember, orderly, masculine and rhythmic.


Initially I couldn’t understand how this fishing works, later I guessed (wrongly) the catch will be little, not sufficient to pay for the 30+ fishermen who worked on this for few hours. After what seemed to be a long time (1 hour) the entire dragnet was pulled to the sands and spread. That’s when I realised the catch was plenty, they have captured in thousands the fish variety Anchovy (called நெத்திலி மீன் in Tamil). The fishermen were selling the catch immediately to assembled crowd, and took the reminder in their boat to probably a local market to sell.