The Fishermen of Zhejiang Province, south-east China

Harmony….not really a word that is used today is it?

Either we are using every possible resource, forcing our way over nature with our constant greedy industriousness and outright disregard; demininshed resources, and destruction of wildlife ecosystems purely because we are all consuming organisms. We are a selfish ignorant race aren’t we? Well that would only be one side of the argument and there are great examples of how we can run in sync with our environment and the environment run in sync with us, meagre homo sapiens.

Take for example the fishermen of the Zhejiang Province, south-east China, these wise fishermen sustain a humble but noble tradition of fishing for their villages, promoting a village commerce through farming the local rivers.

Do they use agressive trawlers, scraping the river bed and destroying habitats for intensive fishing? No. Perhaps they poison the river at the risk to other wildlife? Nope. Do they even use fishing rods? No again. through a tradition spanning over hundreds of years these skillful fishermen have astutely trained the cormorant birds to fish for them. A symbiotic relationship between man and bird which yields benefits for each. These noble birds jump from the boat and dive for their dinner, catching two to three fish at one time: After a few seconds in the icy water, they resurface seeking admiration from their master, holding a bamboo cane for them to march proudly onto the boat and deposit their riches. After a fishing trip both man and bird return and the comorantes can feast on some of their catch.

Fishing populations can cope and have time to replenish without any significant impact to their species, unlike the effect commercial fishing is having on populations of fish. Populations are reducing each season and if the intensity of farming continues, well it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out. There are ways and means to live on this planet harmoniously, we have been doing it for millenia and within an eyeblink of time, since the population boom and the industrial age we are having an adverse affect on this planet. Perhaps it would be better to live in simpler times? I think so.

I love this and am glad tradition and harmony can still be found somewhere in this forever changing world.


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