One of the many iconic images people see of Yangshuo. Is that of the Cormorant fisherman. This ancient tradition of Cormorant Fishing stretches back hundreds of years. And is still only practiced in a few places in the whole world. Seeing some of the old Cormorant Fishermen of Yangshuo. One can be forgiven for thinking they have been doing it all that time. The bond between the fishermen and there birds is more than one of practicality. And you can still feel and genuine sense of family between them.
The process of Cormorant Fishing is quite simple. Its based on a small ring placed around the neck of the bird to stop them swallowing the larger fish. The birds are released into the water where there instincts take hold. They proceed to swallow up as many fish as they can. Once there gullet is full they return to the raft to empty there throats. There they are usually rewarded for there efforts.
Over the years the river has lost much of its fish population (though efforts are being made to rectify this) so seeing the cormorant fisherman is becoming more of a rarity. And some local knowledge can really help if you wish to see them practicing there art.
Cormorant fishing as you may expect has received mixed feelings from many observers as some see the relationship as somewhat abusive to the birds. Whilst other argue it is no more exploitative than we would expect of those who chose to ride a horse for personal pleasure. Your opinions are your own to make on such practices and we simply offer the opportunity for those who wish to look closer into this ancient art to do so.
Due to human activity and developments in technology this form of fishing is not really practiced on the Li-River anymore, occasionally the old fisherman will come out for special celebration or performances but the reality is they continue to exist and care for the birds as a form of tourist income. The fisherman themselves along with their birds can normally found around the Xingping area, where they are often photographed.
AS time continues these fishermen and there once proud tradition is slowly passing away, Yangshuo offer a chance to see them before they become another relic in time