This film is part of Free

Fishing with Cormorants. Isle of Yeso. Japan

Fishermen set out on the river with trained cormorants

Interest film 1911 10 mins


In Japan, cormorant fishing has been practised for over 1,300 years. The fisherman ties a band around the bird’s neck so it cannot swallow the fish. Released on the river, the leashed cormorant dives to catch fish, which are stored in the pouch in its throat. The fisherman then pulls the bird back to the boat and squeezes the fish out of its throat. Since such fishing traditionally takes place at night, the fishermen in this film are probably demonstrating their method for the film crew.

Today, cormorant fishing is practised mainly as a tourist attraction. Although the title identifies the location as Isle of Yeso (present-day Hokkaido), this traditional fishing method is more common on the Japanese mainland. (Kosuke Fujiki)