In China, the tradition of cormorant fishing dates back some 1300 years. Fishermen use the hunting instincts of the cormorants to capture fish. A metal ring is positioned around the bird’s neck to prevent the large, valuable catch from being swallowed. The fish are collected by the handler, and at the end of the fishing period, the birds are allowed to feed.
The handlers inherit the right to fish and spend time with the birds everyday. Because the trainers accompany the birds on a daily basis, their actions compliment the birds smoothly so that they demonstrate wonderful artistic qualities when fishing. It is a remarkable experience to witness man and bird working together in a tradition dating back into the past millennium.
Over the river’s surface, which is shrouded by the dense dawn or dusk, the cormorant boats, lit by lanterns, slowly emerge.
Most fishing is practiced in the spring and summer when the water is high and warm, thus more comfortable for the cormorants. The first rain, seen here, will signal the close of the fruitful season.
18 x 24 inches (45.72 x 60.96 cm)
24 x 32 inches (60.96 x 81.28 cm)
30 x 40 inches (76.2 x 101.6 cm)