Tyrone Siu Fishermen use a fire to attract fish on a traditional “sulfuric fire fishing" boat in New Taipei City, Taiwan, June 19, 2016. 
Tyrone Siu Fishermen rest in front of a fire fishing boat in New Taipei City, Taiwan, June 18, 2016. 
Tyrone Siu A fisherman works on a traditional sulfuric fire fishing boat at sunset in New Taipei City, Taiwan, June 18, 2016. 
Tyrone Siu Fishermen unload scaled sardines from a sulfuric fire fishing boat in New Taipei City, Taiwan, June 19, 2016.
Tyrone Siu Scaled sardines caught by sulfuric fire fishing boats are loaded into buckets in New Taipei City, Taiwan, June 19, 2016. 
Tyrone Siu Fishermen light a fire to attract fish on a fire fishing boat in New Taipei City, Taiwan, June 19, 2016. 
Tyrone Siu Fish jump out of the water toward the flame on a traditional sulfuric fire fishing boat in New Taipei City, Taiwan, June 19, 2016. 
Tyrone Siu A fishing boat sails at sunset in New Taipei City, Taiwan, June 18, 2016.
Tyrone Siu A boat fishes for octopus at sea in New Taipei City, Taiwan, June 18, 2016. 
Tyrone Siu Fishermen rest before sailing on a fire fishing boat in New Taipei City, Taiwan, June 18, 2016. 

Fishing With Sulfur and Fire

The trick for making fish fly, as Taiwanese fishermen have known for hundreds of years, is to fish by night. Surrounded only by the darkened seas, fishers light a bamboo stick covered in moistened sulfurized soil to create a blaze so fierce that it drives thousands of sardines into a mad rush to the water's surface. As the fish fling their bodies upwards toward the light, the fishermen ready the nets and ensnare them as they fall. On good nights, catches can bring in $4,500, but that's because there is little competition these days. At its height, 300 fishermen used this techniqueknown as sulfuric fire fishingbut now only 30 do. To protect this centuries-old tradition, the Taiwanese government has deemed it a "cultural asset" and provides subsidies for those brave enough to fish by fire.

 

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