Fishing crafts are most essential for catching the fish in large scale in water
bodies. A large variety of crafts (boats) have been designed for marine and inland
fishing in India. The types of fishing crafts of India falls under two general categories.
These are non-mechanized and mechanized fishing crafts.
The categories of fishing craft types comes under non-machanized are catamaran,
dugout-canoes, plank built canoes, masula boat, built up boats.
(i) Catamaran: The simplest
type of fishing craft may be taken as the one formed by a few curved logs of wood
joined together forming a kind of floating raft, such as the ones used along the
east coast of India. Four types of catamarans are prevalent in Indian waters, namely
the Orissa type, Andhra type, Coromandal type and Kanyakumari type.
(ii) Dug-out canoes: A simple
type of fishing craft for fishing within short distances from the coast is a small-sized
canoe made by scooping logs of wood in the form of boat. The “Odams”,
“Thonies”, “Vanchies” etc. of the southeast and south-west
coasts of India come under this category. In calm weather, oars may be enough for
propulsion; but if winds and currents prevail, sails may be used.
(iii) Plank-built canoes: This
is an enlarged variety of dug-out canoe made of planks on the sides, largely used
(iv) Masula boats: It is made
of non-rigid planks sewn together with coir ropes and are common along Andhra coast.
(v) Dhinghi: This is a carvel
type of boat designed and constructed for a variety of purposes including fishing.
(vi) Outrigger canoes: Some
times plank-built canoes may be provided with a single outrigger as in the “rampani”
boats used for capturing mackerel in Karnataka.
(vii) Built-up boats: In most
of the boats made at present, the carvel type of boats is built up of planks. The
best type of built-up boats is seen in centres along the northeast coast of India.
With the advent of mechanization of the fishing crafts, small and medium sized boats,
10 to 15 m long, are constructed with engines operated by oil for venturing to distant
coastal areas in search of fishing grounds. The machanised crafts are line boats,
trap boats, dolnetter, gillnetter, trawlers.
(i) Hand line boat: Hand line
boats can be operated both in the shallow and deeper waters. The traditional hand
liners use no winch. In India the gear usually consists of a few meters of monofilament
of 0.5 mm to 1 mm diameter to the end of which is attached a hood and a sinker,
usually a small stone. They are used to catch all kinds of demersal fish from motorized
as well as small-mechanised vessels.
(ii) Pole and line fishing vessel:
Pole and line fishing vessels are fitted with a narrow platform protruding all round
the vessel at deck level, outside the bulwarks. The platform extends forward from
the stern to the fore-end like a bowsprit. The crew stands on the platform with
their backs to the riel when fishing with the poles. The most popular craft for
pole and line fishing in India is ‘mas odi’ of Minicoy. It is a wooden
craft 12.5m long and 3m wide at the stern, made from venteak, coconut or aini wood.
The back end is provided with a broad raised fishing platform. The propulsion of
the craft is by sail or by oars. Nearly 20 to 25 men work on each craft.
(iii) Trolling vessel: Trolling
line boats tow lines extending on either side to catch pelagic species having high
individual value and good quality, such as tuna and baracuda. A number of lures
hanging from outrigger poles through lines are towed from a slowly moving vessel.
The fish hooked after snapping at the lure are brought on board as the line is hauled
in. The lures after detaching the fish are put again into the water. The vessel
lengths vary between 25’ - 50’ and have normally a forward wheelhouse
arrangement allowing a clear working deck aft.
(iv) Dol netter: The dol netters
are used for operating the dol nets, which are basically fixed bag nets. The dol
netter varies form 8-14 mm length, 1.5 m to 3.6 m in breadth and 0.8 m to 1.8 m
in height. The carrying capacity of each of such boats varies from 2-14 tonnes.
Each of these boats is fitted with 2-4 cylinder diesel engines.
(v) Gill netter: Vessels of
almost any size can undertake gill netting. The number of nets used for fishing
is adjusted to suit the size of the operating vessel. The vessels vary in length
between 25’ and 55’. The deck must be so laid out that the gear can
be conveniently stowed, with a clear passage from bow to stern so that the gear
can be passed after hauling. An arrangement with wheelhouse and engine room forward
or behind may be used depending on the operating method adopted. In a typical arrangement
with the engine and wheelhouse in the backward configuration, sufficient deck space
must be available behind the house for storing and handling the net. A forward arrangement
can also be used for side hauling, in which case the wheelhouse is sometimes so
located to provide a clear working passage.