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Photographer's Note

Humans have historically exploited cormorants' fishing skills, particularly in China and Japan, where they have been trained by fishermen.

A snare is tied near the base of the bird's throat, which allows the bird only to swallow small fish. When the bird captures and tries to swallow a large fish, the fish is caught in the bird's throat. When the bird returns to the fisherman's raft, the fisherman helps the bird to remove the fish from its throat.

The method is not as common today, since more efficient methods of catching fish have been developed. In China and Japan it is now mainly used as a tourist attraction.

In Japan, cormorant fishing is called ukai (鵜飼). Traditional forms of ukai can be seen on the Nagara River in the city of Gifu, Gifu Prefecture, where cormorant fishing has continued uninterrupted for 1300 years, or in the city of Inuyama, Aichi.

In Guilin, China, cormorant birds are famous for fishing on the shallow Lijiang River. This picture was taken in Tongli, an old canal town, not far from Shanghai.

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Additional Photos by Benny Verbercht (BennyV) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2813 W: 35 N: 5734] (30600)
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