What is the essence of Chinese fishing with cormorants?

Cormorants are excellent fishermen. They don’t need to be taught fishing; it’s instinctive for them. However, humans have trained these birds to bring in the catch.


Fishermen tie the cormorant’s throat so that it cannot swallow the fish. As a result, the bird resurfaces, and the catch is retrieved by the fisherman. This process is repeated many times during a single fishing session. Cormorants catch kilograms of fish in one fishing expedition, which are then sold or used for meals. The birds also get a share of the catch, but fishermen try not to overfeed them, ensuring they remain fit for fishing assistance over an extended period.

In each boat, there is always a pair of cormorants, a male and a female, tethered together and considered a family. The birds take turns diving for food, and the fisherman never forgets to tie their throat pouches.

Chinese fishermen have practiced this type of fishing for a thousand years, but this tradition is gradually fading away today.

It’s challenging to persuade people to engage with cormorants when modern fishing methods like spinning are available.

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