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waitingforatrainit0.jpg

 

I used a card printed with this image to send a note to a friend whose father just committed suicide. It seemed so appropriate.

 

I haven't been able to shake this from my thoughts. So poignant.

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Cormorant fisherman in Quelin China.

327503316_9cc13c321d.jpg

I don't understand what is happening here. Please 'splain. How do you fish for birds? I've seen sea gulls grab fishing bait while casting, but it was not the intention to catch the bird.

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My guess is that the bird is tethered, and when the bird catches a fish, the fisherman reels in bird and fish, takes fish, and sends bird back in the water to catch more fish. Cormorants dive waaaaaaaaaaay down and travel far underwater, and so can bring up fish that would otherwise be unreachable to a human.

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Cormorant fisherman in Quelin China.

327503316_9cc13c321d.jpg

I don't understand what is happening here. Please 'splain. How do you fish for birds? I've seen sea gulls grab fishing bait while casting, but it was not the intention to catch the bird.

 

The fisherman is using the cormorant to catch fish. The bird is bound at the throat so it cannot swallow a large fish. The bird is allowed to dive under the water, partially swallow a fish. It then returns to the thin bamboo raft where the fisherman pulls the fish out of the birds gullet. What you see in the photo is the bright silvery fish being pulled out of the mouth of the bird. Cormorant fishermen keep flocks of birds. There are still some bands of cormorant fishermen in China, but the practice has largely become obsolete.

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I don't understand what is happening here. Please 'splain. How do you fish for birds? I've seen sea gulls grab fishing bait while casting, but it was not the intention to catch the bird.

 

It's a practice that dates back over a thousand years in China, especially near the Li river and Guilin. Fishermen raises Cormorants and put a ring around their neck. The ring only allows small fish to pass. The larger fish are removed by the fishermen.

 

The method seems cruel, but it's been in existence for over a thousand years, and for those who've seen it live, there is an undeniable bond between a fisherman and his birds. They have a symbiotic relationship, and besides the ring around the neck, the birds are free to go anywhere, but they always come back to the boat belonging to their owner.

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