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Fishing in the lagoon of Venice: nets and equipments

When you take an excursion to the lagoon islands of Venice, you will seesome particular fishing nets. Find out how they are still used today.

Square cogoli

From March to April Venetian fishermen catch the’moeche’, small crabs, that lose their carapace at this time of the year and become very soft. Special nets called ‘cogoli’ in circular or square shape are used for this purpose and are provided with a trap at the bottom.


The so -called ‘nassa’ consists of a metal or plastic mesh with a ‘funnel’ at the end. The bait is placed inside, and it consists of bread, cheese and bay leaf, but above all sardines because give off a strong smell. After twenty-four hours the bait is replaced and the catch is withdrawn. Those nets can be used all year round, even during the biological shutdown period and are considered eco-sustainable for the kind of fish caught, that is usually small.

For cuttlefish, nets are lowered in groups of twenty tied together, for other kinds of fish there are larger nets, and therefore they are single ones. If you catch sea cicadas they are semi-ellipsoidal in shape and fifty to one hundred are lowered at a time. The cicadas are then brought alive to the fish market.

Scales for fishing, the so-called bilancioni

Near Torcello island there is a big scale formed with a quadrangularshaped network, used for fishing. When the fish is captured it isconveyed by the movements of the net towards its centre. It is thenrecovered either with a landing net or using a boat that retrieves it frombeneath. It is used mainly to catch sardines.


Fishermen have this equipment on board, a mechanical tool or device consisting of one or more surfaces with holes of different sizes, used to separate fine materials from other coarser ones.

A tour to the islands and a stop for a bite at one of the local restaurants would be a treat!

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