Copyright © 2018 Matt Shiffler Photography

“Letting Tradition Live” Photo Submission


Attached is my full photo submission to the World Nomads Travel Photography Contest, with the winner receiving a paid for trip to Myanmar under the study of acclaimed photographer, Richard I’anson.

Xingping, China.
Even in a downpour, towering above the tiny Chinese villages below and surrounded by the karst landscape was surreal. Along this river, lies one of the most interesting and oldest traditions in the country.
Meet “Blackbeard;” one of the last fishermen demonstrating the dying art of using cormorant birds to catch fish on the Li River. The ancient tradition dates back to 960 A.D. and is scarcely used anymore except by a select few fishermen.
The fishermen send the cormorants into the water to catch fish and bring them back into the boat. To ensure the birds do not swallow all of the fish, a snare string will be attached to the bird’s neck, stopping the cormorant from eating the larger fish.
The cormorant is trained to return to the boat and spit the larger fish out for the fisherman. To keep the birds happy, the fisherman feed them the smaller fish that were caught. Sadly, the 1000 year old tradition is fading due to overfishing and that stronger nets are proving more effective.
A Chinese fisherman with his Cormorant birds paddle off on the Li River in Xingping, China.

Leave a comment