Cormorant fishing season underway in central Japanese city with anti-virus measures

Tourists aboard boats watch a fishing captain check cormorants in Seki, Gifu prefecture, May 15, 2021 (Mainichi / Sawako Kumagai)

SEKI, Gifu – Cormorant fishing and tourist boat operations in the Oze district of this central Japanese city started on the night of May 15, four days later than usual due to the spread of coronavirus infections.

This is the second consecutive year of delays due to COVID-19. Operators will consider stopping traditional fishing events if the Japanese government declares a state of emergency for Gifu Prefecture.

While cormorant fishing was due to start on May 11, it was postponed because a group of elementary school students in the town canceled their reservation to observe the fishing method due to a state of emergency declaration issued. by the prefectural government following the spread of the infections. Boat operators are reducing the number of passengers to around 70% of their capacity and are taking measures to prevent infections by banning eating and drinking on the boats.

On May 15, three cormorant boats fished while a total of 53 people who had reserved seats on five tourist boats paid close attention to the fishing captains’ techniques for controlling cormorants with ropes while using a large fire to enlighten the boatmen to direct. and for birds to fish.

Kie Ishihara, a 33-year-old part-time worker who was visiting her family of three from the nearby town of Minokamo, commented: “I was moved by the fishing captains controlling the cormorants to catch sweet fish. under my eyes. I was also relieved by the infection prevention measures. “His daughter Ayana, 7, a second grader, said with a smile:” I saw a lot of cormorants and sweet fish. The fishing scenes were magnificent.

Takeshi Yamada, chairman of tourist boat operator Seki Yusen Co., told the Mainichi Shimbun, “If a state of emergency is declared (by the central government), I think about 80% of boat trips cannot take place. But he added: “Cormorant fishing is an outdoor activity without eating or drinking. We hope to keep operating.”

(Japanese original by Sawako Kumagai, Gifu Office)


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