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   Undertoad  Monday Jun 18 03:35 PM

June 18, 2007: Ukai, traditional Japanese comorant fishing



Welcome, it's Neatorama Collaboration Monday!



The Sydney Morning Herald had this one featuring Ukai, a traditional fishing method that has been used in Japan for 1300 years, or so they say. In Ukai, you use a sea bird, a comorant, on a leash to fish for you.

It's pretty disgusting and so the practice is pretty much limited to a small group of traditional fishermen. Why?

This page has more detail, including the note that they have to prevent the bird from eating the fish somehow. So they put a small ring around its neck, and once the bird catches something...



..you make it cough up the goods.

According to Neatorama's Alex, the practice was originally founded in China.

Be sure to visit Neatorama for more neato items all the time!



xoxoxoBruce  Monday Jun 18 03:52 PM

Birds always swallow fish head first to avoid being impaled on the fish's spines. I wonder how they disgorge the fish without getting injured?



monster  Monday Jun 18 07:02 PM

This fishing practice features in one of the Bond books.



Cloud  Monday Jun 18 07:12 PM

I remember cormorant fishing from the book Island of the Blue Dolphins.



wolf  Monday Jun 18 07:24 PM

I remember cormorant killing from that book, but not fishing. There was some other kid's book that had fishing thing in it, wasn't there?

The girl had a cape or skirt of cormorant skins, IIRC. (Funny, I know the dog's name was Rontu (and his son Rontu-Aru) but I can't remember hers for nothin'. Did they ever give it?)



jinx  Monday Jun 18 07:42 PM

Island of the Dolphins I think



Elspode  Monday Jun 18 09:44 PM

I'm assuming they cook these fish pretty much right on the spot, then?



xoxoxoBruce  Monday Jun 18 10:02 PM

I don't think so, I thought they feed the tourists mostly.



artemis05  Tuesday Jun 19 12:47 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by wolf View Post
The girl had a cape or skirt of cormorant skins, IIRC. (Funny, I know the dog's name was Rontu (and his son Rontu-Aru) but I can't remember hers for nothin'. Did they ever give it?)
was it zia? or was the name of her niece in the sequel?


rupip  Tuesday Jun 19 09:19 AM

i wonder what they have the burning basket for?

- light for the fish to see them, being curious and come to the surface
- to stress the cormorant
- to keep warm
- for a simple and quick BBQ after pulling out the fish of the birds throat

other theories...?



Silazius  Tuesday Jun 19 09:32 AM

How about....

Quote:
Originally Posted by rupip View Post
i wonder what they have the burning basket for?

- light for the fish to see them, being curious and come to the surface
- to stress the cormorant
- to keep warm
- for a simple and quick BBQ after pulling out the fish of the birds throat

other theories...?
Marshmallow roast?


xoxoxoBruce  Tuesday Jun 19 09:50 AM

The light from the fire attracts the fish. Around these parts they use a camping lantern. The Japs also use a drum, or beat on the boat, to attract the fish but I should think that would drive them away.



sandypossum  Tuesday Jun 19 11:32 AM

Is that a Japanese smurfette working on the boat?



spudcon  Tuesday Jun 19 11:40 AM

wonder what they have the burning basket for?

The burning basket is to singe off the cormorant feathers before they eat them. That's what happens after selling the fish to tourists. Tastes like chicken.



Sundae  Tuesday Jun 19 01:50 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by spudcon View Post
The burning basket is to singe off the cormorant feathers before they eat them. That's what happens after selling the fish to tourists. Tastes like chicken.
I can't think of a bird less likely to taste like chicken. Also, ask yourself - if cormorants are so damn tasty, they are used to catch fish rather than eaten.

Still, if you're still hankering for a cormorant recipe:

Quote:
Having shot your cormorant, hold it well away from you as you carry it home; these birds are exceedingly verminous and the lice are said to be not entirely host-specific. Hang up by the feet with a piece of wire, soak in petrol and set on fire. This treatment both removes most of the feathers and kills the lice.

When the smoke has cleared away, take the cormorant down and cut off the beak. Send this to the local Conservancy Board who, if you are in the right area, will give you 3/6d or sometimes 5/- for it. Bury the carcase, preferably in a light sandy soil, and leave it there for a fortnight. This is said to improve the flavour by removing, in part at least, the taste of rotting fish.

Dig up and skin and draw the bird. Place in a strong salt and water solution and soak for 48 hours. Remove, dry, stuff with whole, unpeeled onions: the onion skins are supposed to bleach the meat to a small extent, so that it is very dark brown instead of being entirely black.

Simmer gently in seawater, to which two tablespoons of chloride of lime have been added, for six hours. This has a further tenderising effect. Take out of the water and allow to dry, meanwhile mixing up a stiff paste of methylated spirit and curry powder. Spread this mixture liberally over the breast of the bird.

Finally roast in a very hot oven for three hours. The result is unbelievable. Throw it away. Not even a starving vulture would eat it.
From Countryman’s Cooking, by W.M.W. Fowler, published by Excellent Press, via Times Online



Cloud  Tuesday Jun 19 02:17 PM

I don't remember the book too well, but I do remember reading it in school. We probably learned about the cormorant fishing then.



wolf  Tuesday Jun 19 02:25 PM

I think the cormorant fishing book was a picture book ... water color looking illustrations? Come on, someone else must have seen this!



wolf  Tuesday Jun 19 02:27 PM

Lots of pictures detailing the pre-fishing ritual and fishing.



glatt  Tuesday Jun 19 02:47 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by wolf View Post
I think the cormorant fishing book was a picture book ... water color looking illustrations? Come on, someone else must have seen this!
You don't mean the Story About Ping, a duck on the Yangtze river, do you?


xoxoxoBruce  Tuesday Jun 19 03:10 PM

Welcome to the Cellar, spudcon.

Quote:
....hold it well away from you as you carry it home; these birds are exceedingly verminous and the lice are said to be not entirely host-specific.



wolf  Tuesday Jun 19 04:56 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by glatt View Post
You don't mean the Story About Ping, a duck on the Yangtze river, do you?
Yes, that's the one!


Clodfobble  Tuesday Jun 19 05:34 PM

Oh my God! Glatt, that was one of my favorite books as a child, and I had completely forgotten about it until you linked it just now. I think I may have to buy it from Amazon right now.


Edit: Ha! I just noticed one of the product reviews at the bottom of the page:

Quote:
Using deft allegory, the authors have provided an insightful and intuitive explanation of one of Unix's most venerable networking utilities... The book describes networking in terms even a child could understand, choosing to anthropomorphize the underlying packet structure. The ping packet is described as a duck, who, with other packets (more ducks), spends a certain period of time on the host machine (the wise-eyed boat). At the same time each day (I suspect this is scheduled under cron), the little packets (ducks) exit the host (boat) by way of a bridge (a bridge). From the bridge, the packets travel onto the internet (here embodied by the Yangtze River).
...
If you need a good, high-level overview of the ping utility, this is the book. I can't recommend it for most managers, as the technical aspects may be too overwhelming and the basic concepts too daunting.
...
The Story About Ping has earned a place on my bookshelf, right between Stevens' Advanced Programming in the Unix Environment, and my dog-eared copy of Dante's seminal work on MS Windows, Inferno.



glatt  Tuesday Jun 19 08:31 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clodfobble View Post
I think I may have to buy it from Amazon right now.
Do it. Minifob will thank you.

La la la lee!


chrisinhouston  Monday Jun 25 10:23 AM

This guy's bandaged fingers makes me wonder if the birds inflict a little damage as they are being readied for the fishing expedition.



spudcon  Friday Apr 4 10:14 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by spudcon View Post
The burning basket is to singe off the cormorant feathers before they eat them. That's what happens after selling the fish to tourists. Tastes like chicken.
Okay, I guess I was wrong. Change last line to "Tastes like shit."


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