Meet the few remaining cormorant fisherman

The ancient fishing technique of using a diving cormorant to retrieve live fish started in 960 A.D. in China’s Guangxi Zhuang region. It is now nearly the end of an era, with only a few fisherman still practicing the ancient art. The fishermen tame and train their cormorant birds and keep them as pets. When it’s time to fish, they tie a string at the base of the cormorant’s throat. This prevents the birds from swallowing larger fish when they dive into the Li River to scoop fish into their large bills. They spit out the larger fish when they swim back to the bamboo raft where their master waits. Once a lucrative art, cormorant fishing is fading quickly, so it was a surreal experience to take in this scene along the peaceful waters of the Li River.

I spent several days photographing these cormorant fishermen and this incredible area with the famous karst mountains as a breathtaking backdrop. It seemed like a dream, or something out of Lord of the Rings! I will be posting more of my trip to Guilin, China, with the most amazing group of photographers from all over the world.

If you want the experience of a lifetime, be sure to connect with Andy and Mia Beales, of  who know all the best places and times for touring, cormorant fishing and photography. A special thanks to Jim Harmer, friend and BYU-I alum, for organizing this photo tour!  Jim is the owner, manager and mastermind behind the world-renowned Improve Photography website, where you can learn to master your camera and Adobe skills to become a world-class photographer. Check his website and Facebook page out. Tell him Caryn sent you!

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