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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: NORTHERN NEW YORK STATE
I watched a show on one of the nature channels one night about how the Japanese actually use cormorants to fish. When the bird is young they put a ring around it's neck. When the bird grows up that ring is just the right size to allow him to swallow a small fish but not a fish that the fisherman would be interested in. To do the actual fishing the fisherman would put his boat in a likely area, attach a line to the ring, and then turn the bird loose to do the catching. When the bird would surface with a fish too big to gag down the fisherman would reel him in and take the fish. What was really amazing to see was that the fishermen were using a half a dozen birds at a time. They would put the lines between their fingers and somehow over the years these old timers had developed the sensitivity to feel what was going on with each line while the birds were underwater and would keep them from crossing and tangling.
The narrator said that there were only about a half dozen old timers left that still fished that way. He said that the Japanese government subsidizes them now so they don't have to worry about stuff like how many fish they can take to market. That kind of fishing is now considered an art and living history and the government is desperately trying to find someone who wants to learn how to do this to continue the tradition. Unfortunately, the Japanese kids are just like our kids, they'd rather play on their cell phones.