It was my honor to meet and photograph the Haung brothers, both at their home and on the Li River in Guilin, China.In about 1948 the eldest brother Yue Ming (now 86) and following thereafter the youngest brother Yue Chuan (now 79) learned the ways of the Cormorant fisherman.An ancient fishing technique where cormorant birds are trained to dive for fish and return their catch to their master’s raft. If not for the snare tied around the bird’s neck – the cormorant would swallow it’s catch whole.The brothers lived on a houseboat until 1978 at which time the local government gave fishermen land. They built a home on this property and still live in it today. It is modest, reachable only by boat and meals are cooked over campfire.Fishing was a way of life until the late 1990’s. Unfortunately, Cormorant fishing has become a lost source of income but the art form still remains. River pollution, motorized boats and electric rod fishing have made it hard for the birds to successfully fish.
A little piece of Heaven on Earth is right here in Guilin, China. Unspoiled by development. Peaceful.
Sunrise on the Li River where the karst rock formations rise from the soil like the backs of sleeping dinosaurs.Meet Mr. Haung – 61 years old and considered amongst the youngest to know the ancient ways of the cormorant fishermen. Sadly, these days a mostly extinct fishing method. River pollution, mass fishing with electrical charges and motorized boats have depleted the fish population.
The cormorant bird – trained to dive into the water, capture a fish in its bill and dutifully return it to the raft. If not for the snare tied around the birds neck it would swallow the catch whole.The raft – long and sturdy. Mr. Haung splashed the water for effect. The birds accustomed to the rocking commotion on the raft remain unfazed.The art of cast net fishing – the large net is meticulously coiled in his left hand while an edge of the net is secured between his teeth and the remainder grasped in he right hand. Winding up like pro golfer, whilst swinging the net, the net is released high into the air. The splash – circular in formation – is a testament to his skill.