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Cormorant Fishing

Cormorant fishing is a traditional fishing method in which fishermen use trained cormorants to fish the rivers and lakes of China. In Guilin area, the Li River has a long history of Cormorant Fishing.

Normally the cormorant fishing happens only in the evening as the fisherman will put an oil lamp in the front of the bamboo raft to attract the fish. When dusk falls, fishermen on the bamboo rafts lighten their lamps one by one, and sent their cormorants out to go fishing; with karst hills as the backdrop, such scene of cormorant fishing can be a most typical impression of Li River.

Cormorant Fishing on Li Rver

Cormorant is a kind of large fish-catching bird with black furs. It has long neck and it can dive and stay under water for long time. It is searching the fish while it is under water. The bird then catches the fish in its beak and returns to the surface.

When the bird is fishing for the fisherman, the bird is unable to swallow the fish as a string has been tied loosely around its neck. The fisherman who is standing on a bamboo raft will lift the bird onto the raft and remove the fish and drop it into a basket. The bird then goes back into the water and tries to catch more.

Unable to compete with modern fishing, the fishermen can't make a living from cormorant fishing alone. This traditional way of fishing has been dying out over the past few decades, and now is largely practiced to entertain tourists. The fishing show is always available in the city of Guilin and Yangshuo in the evening. For those who are interested in this fishing and want to know the local fisherman's life, it is quite worthwhile. But we recommend the fishing in Yangshuo, not in the city of Guilin.