Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Fishing is for the birds

This morning I was watching "Sunrise Earth" on the Discovery HD channel and they showed three fishermen from Xiaping, China on small rafts fishing with cormorants.

It was fascinating to watch them as they sent out the birds on the water to gorge on fish in the early morning. It was a beautiful and calm river with a backdrop of steep green mountains all around.

Using trained cormorants to fish is apparently an ancient art in China. The fisherman attach loose rings around the bird's neck which prevents them from completely swallowing the fish. They then retrieve the birds and the fish from their throats. At the end of the fishing session they remove the rings and allow the birds to have some fish.

I've read about another fishing method using kites to troll baits along the surf or reefs to catch fish but I wasn't aware of this style of fishing using trained birds.

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