Cormorant Fishing Festival in Japan

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We saw this awesome festival in Arashiyama called Cormorant fishing.  It’s where these ancient fishing masters train cormorants to hunt fish, keep them in their throats then regurgitate them. The practice has begun since 960 AD!

This is the description of cormorant fishing according to  Wikipedia:

To control the birds, the fishermen tie a snare near the base of the bird’s throat. This prevents the birds from swallowing larger fish, which are held in their throat, but the birds can swallow smaller fish. When a cormorant has caught a fish in its throat, the fisherman brings the bird back to the boat and has the bird spit the fish up.

Here is a close up of the snare in the cormorant

Here is a close up of the snare in the cormorant

 

We were all lined up in boats like these.

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Then the fishing began. The cormorant fisherman rows past us in his boat. The ceremony becomes more exciting as it’s fueled by Japanese drums and fire. The cormorants duck (so the speak… couldn’t resist) into the water hunting for fish. Then the cormorant fisherman takes them out and forces them to regurgitate the fish.

 

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Nothing quite like it.

To learn more about cormorant fishing, click Wikipedia’s Cormorant Fishing.

Image credit

 

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