• Paz

Cormorant Fishing in China

Choke a bird, get some fish!

Cormorant fishing is an ancient fishing method still practiced in Southeast China. Now they offer tourists first hand Cormorant fishing experiences. This was the best excursion and almost the cheapest on our visit to Yangshuo. Funny thing is we had actually watched a video on Cormorant fishing from our living room in Wisconsin almost one year ago. Who knew we would get the opportunity to do it a year later. 

In Guilin, China, Cormorant birds are famous for fishing in the shallow Lijiang River. Cormorant fishing has been around since 970 AD, and still active over a thousand years later. Nothing has changed since then either. Crazy!

First, the fishermen go out on their bamboo raft with basket and birds in hand.

Second, the birds perform this amazing dive into the water.

Third, there is a string attached to one of the bird's legs allowing the fisherman to scoop them out of the water with his pole.

Fourth, they place a string around the birds throat to prohibit it to opening too large. This only allows them to swallow smaller fish and the larger fish are then "trapped" in the bird's mouth. The fisherman pushes the larger fish out of the birds throat and then into his basket. Interesting isn't it.

What I find even more interesting is why these birds stay?! Why don't they fly away versus having a rope around their neck all night long?I am not sure and with my very limited Mandarin and Cantonese was not able to ask.

I love this picture because it represents why we live abroad. The kids loved watching the birds catch the fish and then the fisherman retrieve their catch. A learning experience for us all. 

Here is what 6 birds will get you these days. I can only imagine that in 970 AD there were much more fish and they were probably a bit bigger too. Not bad though.

Here we are getting friendly with the fisherman and his birds!

I don't know if I like the picture or the fisherman's expression better. lol

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