I got to have a Cormorant on my arm!!!

Throwback Thursday: Cormorant Fishing in Yangshuo

Chinese fisherman on his bamboo boat fishing with his Cormorants
Chinese fisherman on his bamboo boat fishing with his Cormorants

For more than 1000 years fishermen in Yangshuo have used trained cormorants to fish in the rivers. Going out on the Li River at night to watch these fishermen at work is one of the most popular activities of Yanshuo’s nightlife. This way of fishing has existed in china for generations and over the years, it has become a way to earn money and attract the tourist. 

We were taken out onto the river in a small boat and got to cruise next to the fishermen at work on their bamboo rafts.

The birds are taken by the fisherman at a young age and become bonded to them. They then catch fish according to natural instincts but are prevented from swallowing all but the smallest fish by a ring placed around their neck during the fishing process. However, the birds are not stupid and refuse to catch more fish unless they are rewarded occasionally which the fishermen do with small crabs and fish.

Fisherman retrieving the fish from a Cormorant
Fisherman retrieving the fish from a Cormorant

With an order from the fisherman, the well-trained cormorants dove into the water to find fish and catch them. They are so good at diving that they went under water for quite a long time. When they succeed in getting any fish, they proudly swam back to the raft with their catch.

Seeing how close I can get to these magnificent birds.
Seeing how close I can get to these magnificent birds.

The fisherman then has the bird spit the fish up and sends him back into the water again. My impression was that they looked quite healthy and were enjoying diving into the river after the fish. They were treated very well by the fisherman who looked very serene standing atop his bamboo raft.

It was a short trip, about 40 minutes but it included a stop for photos where I actually got to hold one of the cormorants!

I got to have a Cormorant on my arm!!!
I got to have a Cormorant on my arm!!!
Advertisements

30 comments

  1. I adore cormorants! I often swim with them and they often come up to the kayak in the rivers and springs. They really are incredibly beautiful and seem to have a wonderful sense of crackling humour, as well 😉 But that is just my impression.

    I have read about this practice before of humans using cormorants as assistant fishermen. They really are exquisitely skilled and so graceful to watch underwater. This experience must have been absolutely thrilling for you! Stupendous photos, really enjoyed this post.

    Jubilant cheers and happy weekend to you,

    smiling toad

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think they are treated like “royalty”, without them the fisherman wouldn’t be able to make a living. You can see that they trust him so in a way they have been turned into pets I suppose.

      Like

Please share your thoughts,I want to know what you think!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s