China's Cormorant Fishermen

In 2018, I traveled to Guilin, China, to photograph the karst limestone landscape of southern China's Guangxi region and the cormorant fishermen.

The cormorant fishermen's traditional fishing methods are said to date back to 636 AD. These fishermen are best known for fishing without rods, reels, and hooks. However, it's not their lack of equipment that makes their technique unique; it's the bird they are named after, the cormorant. The cormorant dives underwater, hunting fish and returning them to their owner. Using bamboo rafts, these men move up and down China's Li (or Lijiang) River using wooden oars and rocks for anchors. The cormorant fishermen tie a string around the cormorant bird's neck, preventing it from swallowing the fish.