Cormorant Fishing Season

CORMORANT FISHING SEASONHeres a program from our archives.According to the oldest written record in Japan, over a thousand years ago, the divine ancestor’s of the Japanese emperors used trained birds – cormorants – to catch their fish . The tradition of cormorant fishing still survives today, and this week marks the start of the season. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.ambience: cormorantsWe’re listening to the sounds of cormorants. They’re seabirds who are used to diving underwater to catch a fish and gobble it down. Well, in the Gifu region of Japan, on the Nagara river, fishermen have trained their cormorants to use their natural talents to act as living fishing lines. Strapped to a leash, the bird is tossed into the water. The cormorant grabs a throatful of fish, but a metal ring around its neck keeps the catch from slithering into the bird’s stomach. The fisherman hauls the bird out of the water, and makes him cough up the fish. For his troubles, the cormorant’s rewarded with a bit of food.It might not seem like the best deal for the cormorants, but like any job, the benefits increase with seniority. The older birds get to enter and leave the water first, and they’re also the first to be fed. Plus, the more experienced birds actually help to train the younger ones – and along the Nagara River, a well trained cormorant is a valuable commodity.For more information on this and other stories in our series, we’d like to invite you to visit our web site, . That’s pulseplanet, one word, .com. Im Jim Metzner and this is thePulse of the Planet.

Cormorant Fishing Season

Forget lures, lines and bait. How about a trained bird that catches fish for you?
Air Date:06/10/2021
Scientist:
Transcript:

CORMORANT FISHING SEASONHeres a program from our archives.According to the oldest written record in Japan, over a thousand years ago, the divine ancestor's of the Japanese emperors used trained birds - cormorants - to catch their fish . The tradition of cormorant fishing still survives today, and this week marks the start of the season. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.ambience: cormorantsWe're listening to the sounds of cormorants. They're seabirds who are used to diving underwater to catch a fish and gobble it down. Well, in the Gifu region of Japan, on the Nagara river, fishermen have trained their cormorants to use their natural talents to act as living fishing lines. Strapped to a leash, the bird is tossed into the water. The cormorant grabs a throatful of fish, but a metal ring around its neck keeps the catch from slithering into the bird's stomach. The fisherman hauls the bird out of the water, and makes him cough up the fish. For his troubles, the cormorant's rewarded with a bit of food.It might not seem like the best deal for the cormorants, but like any job, the benefits increase with seniority. The older birds get to enter and leave the water first, and they're also the first to be fed. Plus, the more experienced birds actually help to train the younger ones - and along the Nagara River, a well trained cormorant is a valuable commodity.For more information on this and other stories in our series, we'd like to invite you to visit our web site, . That's pulseplanet, one word, .com. Im Jim Metzner and this is thePulse of the Planet.