Dec 12

animals helping humans for fishingMan has employed many animals on many jobs. There may be hardly any job left where he has not taken help of an assistant from the other genera. Fishing is also no exception. And it is sometimes also seen that animals help man on their own. Here are two such interesting fishing practices of man, where he is helped by a bird and an animal – one employed and the other volunteering!

Cormorant Fishing

Cormorant fishing is a century-old tradition carried out by the fishermen in China and Japan, in which they take the help of cormorants to catch fish. This 1300-year old tradition is now facing a threat in China and is limited to be a tourist attraction.

In cormorant fishing, trained cormorants – a species of seabirds – which prey on fish are tied with hemp threads around their necks to prevent them from gulping large fish they catch. The cormorants can gulp small fish though. With these birds, fishermen set out before sunrise for fishing where they perform a special dance-like act of conversation with the birds to prompt them to dive in the water and catch fish. Once the bird catches fish, it comes back on the boat and the fisherman makes it to spit it out. The birds are trained for years to return to the boat with the catch. They are rewarded with smaller fish. An interesting piece of intelligence of the cormorants is they can keep an approximate account of fish they catch and if they are not aptly rewarded, they stop diving to catch fish for their masters.

The extraordinary practice has been caught in cameras by the BBC and CCTV in their documentary series “Wild China”. Take a look.

Dolphin Fishing

And now another fishing practice in Brazil where fishermen don’t employ animals but are helped voluntarily by them to catch fish.

Yes, they are not trained but work on their own just because they love man! In Brazil, some bottlenose dolphins in Laguna in southern Brazil work as a team to round up the fish and make the fishermen aware making signals regarding when and where the nets are to be thrown.

The latest issue of Royal Society Biology Letters has published a research on the dolphins and has pointed out that the most helpful dolphins also turn out to be especially social and cooperative with each other, probably explaining why some wild dolphins decide on their own to work with humans, whereas others don’t.

Lead author Fabio Daura-Jorge from the Federal University of Santa Catarina writes that cooperative dolphins in Laguna, through highly harmonized behavior with humans, drive schools of mullets towards fishermen and “signal” them through stereotyped slaps of head or tail, regarding where and when they should throw their nets. Daura-Jorge and his colleagues organized boat surveys for two years and collected photo identification data and other details of the dolphins. The dolphins were grouped as “cooperative” and “non-cooperative” on the basis of their teaming or non-teaming with humans respectively. With the use of computer modeling by the researchers, the cooperative dolphins were seen to be spending more time together even while not helping humans. And they also have their own social set-up within the larger population of bottlenose dolphins.

However, dolphins don’t take all the efforts just for charity. They feed on the fish escaping the nets.

Watch this wonderful phenomenon in this video.