Traditional fishing preserved in Shandong

(| Updated : 2018-05-15

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Song Shuzhi and his ospreys on Mata Lake. [Photo by Ju Chuanjiang/China Daily]

Seventy-year-old fisherman Song Shuzhi uses a traditional fishing method -- fishing with ospreys -- on Mata Lake in Huantai county, Zibo city, Shandong province.

Song Shuzhi said he and his brother Song Shuxin, carry 12 ospreys to the lake every day.

Mata Lake used to be a war horse training field 2000 years ago. Today, it has become a national wetland park and scenic tourist attraction, bringing in many tourists from home and abroad.

With an area of 124 square kilometers, the lake is connected to a number of rivers, such as the Xiaoqing, the Xinghua and the Wuhe. It is well known for its natural carp, perch, eel, shrimp, crab and lotus root.

Fishing with ospreys has been a tradition in the Song family for generations.


An osprey swoops in to catch fish on Mata Lake. [Photo by Ju Chuanjiang/China Daily]

Song Shuzhi and his two brothers began to practice it at around 10 years old. Today, he and his 76-year-old brother Song Shuxin still stick to the old fishing way, as did their younger brother until he quit because of sickness.

According to Song Shuzhi, the amount of fish caught by ospreys varies from 25 kg to nearly 50 kg every day in different seasons. The size of the fish also varies by season.

Song Shuzhi is familiar with his ospreys. He gives them different names, such as the Leopard, the Big Black, and the Smartest, to better manage them.

He said that an osprey at the age of three to eight is a good fish hunter, because it is energetic and skillful during this period. However, an over 10-year-old osprey is less effective due to poor physical strength.

With the continuous improvement of the lake environment and the development of tourism, Song Shuzhi's fishing livelihood is getting better and better, because the old fishing way has also become an attraction for tourists from all over the world.


Song Shuzhi and his ospreys are seen on Mata Lake. [Photo by Ju Chuanjiang/China Daily]