Outstanding Fishing Techniques

Neck tying adjustment

“Neck tying” is considered to be one of the important techniques of the Usho (Cormorant Fishing Master). The Usho ties the rope around the cormorant’s neck based on long experience so that big fish are caught in the cormorant’s throat and small fish can go down the cormorant’s throat for the cormorant to eat.

Neck tying

How to tie the knot string

Accomplished movements on the boat

Tenawa (hand-held ropes) refers to the ropes connecting the cormorants and the Usho. The Usho holds at most 12 ropes in his left hand. When the cormorants move, the hand-held ropes can become tangled. Therefore, the Usho pulls out the tangled rope with his right hand and puts it back into his left hand.

Handling Tenawa (hand-held ropes)

How to hold Tenawa (hand-held ropes)

Operating a cormorant boat

The waterman of a cormorant boat operates it in coordination with the cormorants and the Usho so that they can fish easily.

Tools for operating a boat (left: oars; right: poles)

Operating a cormorant boat

Keeping cormorants

The Usho usually keeps more than 20 cormorants in a bird hut. The Usho can identify every cormorant and determines the 10 to 12 cormorants to use for fishing on a given day. The Usho never forces cormorants to work that are not in good condition. Even healthy and hardworking cormorants are sometimes rested.

Cormorants in a bird hut

Cormorants standing side by side