Gifu: Admirers of cormorant fishing return in droves

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Cormorant fishing boats assemble on the Nagara River in Gifu.

GIFU — The cormorant fishing season concluded in Gifu on Oct. 15, attracting 52,889 onlookers on pleasure boats, surpassing 50,000 for the first time in three years.

The season was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, and only 13,910 people visited last year, the worst figure ever on record.

To prevent infections, each boat only carried up to half its possible capacity of passengers. Yet there was no suspension of service caused by the pandemic, and the introduction of new, luxury pleasure boats also helped.

On the final day, 30 pleasure boats, including the luxury boats, set off with passengers eagerly watching the great skills of cormorant fishing masters with fire illuminating the scene.

“It’s been a really satisfying cormorant fishing season, with so many people coming to watch us,” said fishing master Yoshinori Sugiyama, 66.