Artificially-incubated Japanese Cormorant's Fishing DebutUtti of Uji River, Kyoto Prefecture5 September 2015 - Tradition/Culture
On September 5, "Utti," Japan's first artificially-incubated junior Japanese cormorant, appeared for its first cormorant fishing on the Uji River, Uji City, Kyoto Prefecture. Wearing a leash that indicates it’s a beginner, the cormorant swam with the senior cormorants and sedately caught fish. It made a brilliant debut after a two month "apprenticeship" period.
A cormorant fisher controlled Utti along with other five cormorants. In the cormorant fishing demonstration for the press before sunset, Utti made a shaky start, such as rolling upside down immediately after setting off, but it gradually picked up the pace and, when it was thrown little fish, it swallowed them one after another. After about 15 minutes, it got tired and jumped onto the boat's edge, making an appeal to "dropout." In the subsequent actual cormorant fishing, Utti appeared in the second half and showed his brave figure to the large audience.
Mariko Sawaki, a cormorant fisher and Utti's foster parent, declared, "Frankly speaking, I had been anxious, but I felt relieved to see its performance deserving 80 points. Utti will be added to the regular members." The cormorant's challenges for the future are to enhance its stamina, and try "Hanachi Ukai" or unleashed cormorant fishing.
Utti hatched at the end of June 2014 from an egg laid by a brace of Japanese cormorants. This season's cormorant fishing will last until September 23. Utti will appear during this period if its condition permits.(translated by Galileo, Inc.)