Cormorant Fishing Season Begins On Nagara River

Cormorant fishing season begins on Nagara River

Tourists gathered at the Nagara River in central Japan on Saturday to witness the season's opening of traditional fishing using trained waterfowl.

Fishermen in the city of Gifu use cormorants to catch sweetfish in a tradition dating back more than 1,300 years.

On Saturday night, fishing masters in traditional attire boarded their torch-lit boats. They skillfully guided the birds on rope leashes to catch fish.

At the climax of the event, six boats lined up side-by-side and hauled in fish by driving them into the shallows.

Spectators who viewed the performance from boats applauded and took photos.

A 76-year-old man said the performance at the climax was especially good. He said he hopes the river will not swell this year so that cormorant fishing will go well.

Last year, 76,000 tourists viewed the fishing from boats. The number was down 30 percent from the level of earlier years due to a record rainfall in July.

Cormorant fishing on the Nagara River will continue through October 15th. City officials expect the event to draw 115,000 visitors during the season.