Flaming Torches, Leaping Fish


2017 / October

Chuang Kung-ju /photos courtesy of Chuang Kung-ju /tr. by Scott Williams

The fishermen of Jinshan have long used carbide torches to catch fish off Taiwan’s northeast coast, from May to September. The fishermen add water to calcium carbide to produce acetylene gas, which when ignited burns with an intensely bright flame. The light attracts schools of sardines that leap out of the water and into the fishermen’s nets. Sometimes known as “sulfuric fire fishing,” the tradition is a Taiwanese cultural treasure.

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