The Riedmuseum includes the eel choker "Heini" - a ship speciallydesigned for eel fishing, which is moored on an arm of the Old Rhine in the Wintersdorf district. As a floating exhibit, it has enriched the Riedmuseum since 1991. as a museum ship, "Heini" documents an important chapter of Upper Rhine fishing history and can be visited as a stop on the PAMINA Rhine Park bicycle path on special dates.
The museum ship
Specially built for eel fishing
The eel choker "Heini" is a ship specially designed for eel fishing. It was built in Holland in 1932 and came to the Upper Rhine in the 1950s. The so-called Schokker fishery is originally a specific phenomenon of the Dutch-Belgian inland fishery in larger flowing waters. The high catch figures also prompted the fishermen on the Upper Rhine to introduce this fishing technique in our region. in 1938, 22 eel chokers were in operation between Mannheim and Kehl. However, after just under 50 years, the Schokker fishery had to be abandoned again. The environmental disaster on the Rhine triggered by the Sandoz company in 1986 and the lifting of the ban on night navigation were the main causes.
A piece of fishing history
The eel choker "Heini" is the last preserved, functional ship of its kind on the Upper Rhine and documents an important chapter of Upper Rhine fishing history. The ship, built of iron, approximately 15 meters long and 5.40 meters wide, was owned by Rosa and Alfred Hauns in Wintersdorf from 1956 to 1991. For a ship of this size, it has an unusually large cabin area below deck with a kitchen, living area and two berths. This is where the whole family lived during the fishing season.
How was the eel caught?
The ship has no propulsion of its own and had to be towed into the Rhine at the beginning of the fishing season. There it was moored on the bank and brought into the middle of the river by the current and anchored. The Schokker fishery had to follow the migratory behavior of the eels and lasted from September to December. Each two to three days after the full moon, the fishing phase, which lasted about two weeks, began. After nightfall, the net was placed in the current on a large catching tree. Until about 4 o'clock in the morning, the mature eels were caught in it, which were on their way to the Sargasso Sea, 5000 kilometers away, to spawn and finally die there.