Thursday 23 April 2020

Cormorant fishing (Japan, 1953)

Cormorant fishing is a traditional fishing method used in Japan and China (and historically in Greece, Macedonia and a little in France and England). It’s called ukai (鵜飼) in Japanese.

Ukai is more of a tourism and TV documentary activity these days and conjures something pastoral and Romantic in a world of industrialised fishing fleets. That said, it doesn’t sound like total fun for the cormorant. A snare is tied around their throats which allows enough space for the cormorant to swallow small fish, but which traps larger fish in the bird’s mouth (I guess it’s not much fun for the fish either).

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