Humans and short-haired otters fishing in the rivers of Bangladesh may end after more than 50 years.
Unfortunately, the practice may be ending with this generation, as Yahoo reports a decline in fish stocks is hurting the cooperative practice some would call cruel, but others would call great angling coordination.
These great images, captured by an AFP photographer, accompany the fantastic Yahoo story, one that’s definitely worth a read.
View the slideshow to see the rest of the images and learn a bit more about anglers using otters to fish in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh Otter Fishing
According to the report from Yahoo, fishermen in southern Bangladesh employ the help of short-haired otters as they use nets to catch fish in rivers near the Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest.
The anglers lower a net into the water along the banks, and the otters dive down, spotting and flushing fish out of their vegetation hiding spots. Once the fish are exposed, the nets have a better shot at snagging them.
But, a researcher in the area was quoted as saying “Over-sedimentation, water pollution from oil and the use of pesticides in (rice) paddy fields, as well as over catching are all having an impact.” The fish are disappearing.
On Board a Bangladesh Otter Fishing Boat
If it wasn’t already obvious, the otters are equipped with a rope and harness system to keep them captive. However, they otters are “fully trained” and eat 6-8 pounds of fish a day, according to the Yahoo piece.
In fact, the short-haired otter is endangered in Bangladesh, and the angling relationship, to an extent, helps keep them protected. Otter fishing “plays a key role in their conservation,” the Yahoo piece stated. One particular otter fishermen in the story said half of his modest wages go towards feeding his five otters.
Bangladesh Short-Haired Otters Fishing
It’s amazing to view how people go about their fishing in different parts of the world. While we’re watching the Bassmaster Classic, these people are trying to keep a unique angling tradition alive before it’s too late.
Newer generations in Bangladesh seem less interested in taking up otter fishing, opting for further education and better paying jobs. The balance of the endangered short-haired otter, the fish populations and a distinct way of life may be coming to an end.