There are few more perfect examples of the powerful fellowship between man and nature.
I can still remember that magical morning where I spied this fisherman cormorant fishing along the Li River in Guilin, China. The cormorants’ grace and the fisherman’s skill fascinated me no end. It was a dance that I needed to capture. I learned that this traditional method goes back 1,300 years. Yet despite a slow resurgence, cormorant fishing is still, sadly, a dying art and banned in much of China as the decline in fish populations, especially on the Li, has made the situation unsustainable. This bewitching ancient tradition is now predominantly practiced for tourism, re-enacted for visitors by elderly men who had been fishing this way their entire lives.
I’m not alone in wishing to preserve this vanishing art. Look closely at the back of the 20 yuan note and there, beneath the Karst hills, you too will spy a cormorant fisherman on the Li.