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Cormorant Fishing Show in Yangshuo and Guilin

In the evening, you can take a short boat ride to see the cormorant fishing, which is a unique and interesting activity in Yangshuo or Guilin. The fisherman rows slowly on a simple bamboo raft with several trained cormorant birds. A piece of grass is loosely tied around the bird neck (or tethered with rings round the base of their necks) so the bird can't swallow big fish. When the cormorant catches fish and stores fish in its mouth, the fisherman will hook the bird on a stick and empty fish from the bird mouth and then put the bird back in the water to continue fishing. You will be amazed to see this traditional Chinese way for fishing.

Cormorant fishing is unique in China. This way of fishing has been used for hundreds of years already. The birds do fishing much better at night than day time. People sometimes see lights on bamboo rafts in the rivers or lakes. That will be the fishermen who use cormorants to fish to make extra income.

Cormorant Fishing Fun, Guilin Tours

Cormorant Fishing Fun, Guilin ToursCormorant Fishing Fun, Guilin Tours

It is a rare opportunity to get a close look at the fishing and people always wonder how these birds can fish for people. Those who are interested will get the answer and experience after they make reservation. People get aboard on a big boat (passenger capacity: 30-60 pax). It drifts while the bamboo rafts following so that tourists can watch the performance clearly.

It is said that one cormorant is better than three fishermen. With the order from fisherman, the well-trained cormorants will dive into water to find fish and catch them. They are so good at diving that they can go under water for quite a long time. When they succeed in getting any fish, they will proudly swim back to the raft and show off to the fisherman.

Cormorant Fishing Fun, Guilin Tours

Cormorant Fishing Fun, Guilin ToursCormorant Fishing Fun, Guilin Tours

The fisherman usually award one or two very small fish to encourage them. Of course, the birds also swallow the small fish when they catch. Sometimes they do get big carps that weigh 3-4 pounds. With the straw or rope tied around their necks, they cannot swallow the big carps they catch. To some extent, this is quite cruel and unfair to the birds. The poor but interesting birds work for man, not for themselves!

The performance generally lasts 45 minutes or so. When the performance is over, tourists surely will get a lot of ideas about how the cormorants do fishing for people.

Questions & Comments

  • Max on November 9, 2010, 11:02 am

    How sad that people continue to exploit animals in this perverse way. Having worked with cormorants in a wildlife hospital setting, it saddens me to learn about this practice

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