The Daily News Leader from Staunton, Virginia on July 23, 1954 · 5
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The Daily News Leader from Staunton, Virginia · 5

Publication:
Location:
Staunton, Virginia
Issue Date:
Friday, July 23, 1954
Page:
5
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Japanese Train Birds To Fish 1 WASHINGTON. July 22 A lummer gets under way in Japan, men and cormorants are teaming up again for the annual live-months fishing season. Along the Nagara River In central Honshu Island, Japanese boatmen are taking their trained birds out to dive tor the rich catch of ayu, a small talmonhke fish also called sweetfish. The partnership is an ancient one, carried on by traditional methods, says the National Geographic Society. For at least a thousand years, Japanese fishermen have made use of the big bird's skill in scooping up the slippery fish' in their long, hooked beaks. One family Is reported to have passed the occupation down through 18 generations. The birds are controlled by a leash with plenty of leeway for swimming and diving. To keep them from swallowing the prize, a metal ring, strap, or string is looped tightly at the base of their necks. Bizarre Sight After-dark cormorant fishing presents a bizarre spectacle that has fascinated many a foreign visitor. The head fisherman wears a ceremonial skull cap and a water-repellent grass skirt resembling a hula costume. All toe birds are numbered and placed In the boats strictly according to rank. As daylight fades, en iron basket alight with flamteig pitch is suspended from the side of the boat to lure the fish. The dark, sinister looking cormorants with" snakelike heads, wedge- shaped tails and webbed feetr are released In turn. An alert master may hold the reins of 12-fast-moving birds at a time. When the cormorants have filled their throat with fish, they usually swim about lan guidly, a hint to the boatmen ; to pull them In and relieve them of the catch. In order to keep up Interest, j the birds are sometimes permitted to eat a fish or two before going back to work. Otherwise they must wait until the job is over before receiving their reward. A lively cormorant may take 100 to 200 fish an hour an indication not only- of energy but of the voracious appetite for which they are noted. i Introduced by Chinese i Fishing coEmorants were introduced into Japan from China, where they had ' been known from time" Immemorial. Some present-day 'Chinese use a different system. On the Sung-arl River in Manchuria, the fishing is done by daylight. No leash is used. The birds dive freely, although their throats are tied so that they cannot eat. When enough fish are taken, the boatmen recapture the loaded birds in a butterfly net on a long stick. Rebellious cormorants occasionally try to escape by flying off, but with their wings clipped-, they cannot go far. Cormorant fishing, both as sport and as means of livelihood, flourished in medieval England. Later, during the 17th century, an official at the court of James I was designated Master of Cormorants. . . --o- Augusta County Farm Bureau Inc. Egg Prices Grade A large Aic Grade A medium 36c Grade B large .....36c Grade C .....20c O : ... .. .. . RECREATION DAM CLEARFIELD, Pa. UFi A tern-1 porary dam was erected to raise! the western branch' of the Sus-j quehauna river sufficiently to per-; mit operation of an oldtime log-: ging raft, one of the features of the community's sesqul-centennial celebration. Local boat owners like the setup. The borough council will keep the temporary dam in operation the - remainder of - the year,, and may decide to build a permanent dam. o One quarter of the daily newspapers of the world are printed in English. 1 Jfe SERVICE $2.98 Ladies SUN GLASSES With Attractive Case $1.99 39c Ladies SCUFFS Floral designs Assorted Colors & Sizes I 4-1- AH m - DRUG STORES INC Decorated 11 -Ounce GLASSES Choice of Dogwood or Modern Design Regular 10c Value mm pair Household RUBBER : GLOVES Choice of Styles ATTENTION! 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