Cormorant Fishing

Scenes from the City of Guilin

11. Cormorant Fishing

A traditional mode of fishing in China involves the use of cormorants to catch fish. Fishermen on bamboo rafts use strong lights suspended over the water to attract the fish. The cormorants, which are tethered with rings round the base of their necks, catch the fish and then disgorge them for the fishermen (When their work is done the rings are removed so they can eat. These shows are regular features of the high season, or they can be arranged, along with riverboats for an evening's entertainment afloat. The boats are flat, narrow rafts consisting of five or six large, round bamboo trunks tied together and upturned at the stern. The fisherman stands on the raft, using a pole to propel the boat. His cormorants perch on his outstretched arms, diving on his command. One good cormorant can feed an entire family.

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