This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
- Tg (Vo1. 21, No.1 - 2 )
FISHING PRACTICES OF NAIMASIMASI VILLAGE A COMMUTER VILLAGE OUTSIDE SUVA, VITI LEVU, FIJI
Norman J. Quinnl
Biology Department, School of Pure and Applied Sciences University of the South Pacific
Aquatic resources have been an important part of the life of many Pacific Islanders for centuries. Howwith a developing economy in Fiji have altered the way villagers utilize aquatic reever, changes associated
sustainability of these marine resources.
Additionally, villagers are aware of the effects that
increased pollution levels from modification of upland vegetation communities and urban chemical runoff have had on the marine environment in Fijian coastal waters
of Naimasimasi Mllage (Tailevu District, Viti Levu Island, Republic of Fiji) ro Fiji's capital city, Suva, has resulted in a change from a
subsistence to a commuter community.
sources. The proximity
(Penn, 1981; Dougherty, 1988; Cripps, 1992; Stewart
and de Mora, 1992: Naidu et al. 1991: Naidu and
Morrison, 1994; Tabudravu, 1995; Naqasima, 1996) and
are concerned about the potential
Historically, the people of the village depended on both marine and freshwater resources for food and for
sale in the market. However, there has been a decline
for their resources to
in the fishing activities over the last decade. New roads
were constructed which improved access to urban areas
in Fiji have focused on women's involvement (Lal and Slatter, 1982; Chung,
Recent fisheries studies
1995; Matthews, 1995; Tiraa-Passfield, 1995; Vunisea, 1995), provided baseline catch information of a fishing community (Veitayaki. et al. 1995r. analyzed fishing pattems in relation to environmental factors (Beeching, 1993), or documented the subsistence women's fishery
and urban employment. Today, about 20Vo of the village commutes daily to urban centers to work and only
a few families totally rely on fishing to meet their food
and income requirements. Many people who have obtained employment in urban centers have lost some of
off Suva Point and its importance to many low income
urban families and potential threars to the fishery (Quinn
their traditional knowledge about fishing.
The improved access to urban markets has influenced the remaining fishers to modify their fishing techniques and customs to increase their catches. This is perceived
and Davis, 1997).
This study is the first which examines the actual fishing techniques, local knowledge, and management
strategies of people from the Tailevu District of Fiji.
by others in the village as a threat to the long-term
t Present Address:
Tropical Discoveries, P.O. Box 305874, Sr. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands 00g03
Guiding the boat through the mangroves.
Their catch is frozen until it is taken to Suva or Nauson
DESCRIPTION OF NAIMASIMASI VIL. LAGE
Naimasimasi Village is located on the southeastern
for sale to
in the market (Fig.
The number of people going out to fish is dependent upon weather conditions and the availability of
target species. Some fish are seasonally plentiful in the lagoon. The fishing grounds in the lagoon and by the
Viti Levu about 40 km from Suva. The surrounding area is hilly with rivers running to the mancoast of grove lined coast. The villagers use the rivers to access
reefs are named and considered to be owned and
managed by various clans termed mataqali. Some of
the mud flats and inshore reefs. Although the high
volcanic islands of Fiji have abundant cultivable land, the sea remains a powerful influence supplying food and identity to coastal people.
the fishing areas are more productive than others and
are closely managed by the village governing bodies.
Only five households out of a community of 60
households are totally dependent on fishing for their live-
The fishing methods commonly used are gleaning, hand-lining, net fishing and spear fishing. Fishing is done on the nearby mudflats, around patch reefs, in
lagoonal waters, in the mangroves and freshwater creeks.
lihood. These families have small boats, outboard engines, nets, and large freezers to preserve their catch.
Another 20 families have small punts that are used for fishing (Fig. l). The rest of the community usually just walks to the mangrove and mudflats for collecting and
fishing. Typically the commercial fishermen fish at least twice a week, normally on Wednesdays and Thursdays. They
Gleaning is the most common fishing method. The
collectors use their bare hands or a small knife and
collecting bag (noke) that is made from woven reeds.
commonly fish at night using gill nets and hand lines.
Journal of The Pacific Society
- Tg (Vol. 21,
Fish being sold at a shop and local market in Nausori, Fiji.
the preferred edible seaweed genera for Fijians, the
Naimasimasi villages prefer Solieria robusta.
The following animals are commonly collected from the
reef: seaurchins (cawaki), giantclams (vasua), trochus (slcl) and Venus ark shell (ftalftoso).
The catch per unit effort (CPUE) of sea urchins on
these reefs is much higher than around Suva (Gounder,
Gill net fishing is practiced by both commercial
1995). This higher CPUE is probably the result of a lower fishing pressure and larger populations of urchins.
subsistence fishermen. Commercial fishermen use 100
m long nets which are set in the lagoon at a low tide
and are checked after the next tidal cycle. Usually many
Reef gleaning is done less frequently as access is
restricted to those with small boats which are able to
traverse the lagoon waters.
fish are caught and the catch includes many small juveniles. This method has created conflict within the
village because subsistence fishermen think this method
The seafood commonly collected in the mangrove and on the mud flats using this method are listed in
is a threat to the sustainability of the fishery.
There are two types of subsistence net fishing. One
of catch differs from that
technique uses long nets like the commercial fishermen,
reported elsewhere. Unlike the kaikoso population
around Suva Peninsula, which appears to be limited to
but only when there is an important village gathering or communal feast.
The second type of net fishing is done by groups
the tidal flats most exposed to tidal currents and is temporally variable (Maybin 1989; Quinn and Davis,
of both men and women on the mud flats and the
shallow parts of the lagoon between the mud flats and barrier reef. The nets are typically 5 m by 3 m with
wooden sticks at each end. The nets are carried by two people as they wade tfuough waist deep water looking
1997), the kaikoso population utilized by the
Naimasimasi villagers is common throughout a large
of the intertidal zone and does not show any large
yearly variation in population size. Also, while South
(1993) states that Caulerpa, Hypnea and Gracilaria are
for schools of fish. When a school is spotted
encircle it and then gradually decrease the diameter of
the circle. Their catch is then put in a noke that is tied
around their waist. Fish commonly caught using this method are listed in Table 2.
Spear fishing is usually done by men
in the lagoon
and in the mangroves. Their spears, called makita, .Ne
multi pronged metal rods with pointed tips fixed to a 2 m long wooden stick (Fig. 3). The best time to go
is on the flood tide when the fish are following the tide in search of food. The fish usually
spear fishing caught using this technique are listed in Tables
Hand line Fishing
Hand lining is usually done from small boats by
women in the lagoon or near the lagoonal patch reefs.
People without boats usually wade out on the mud flats
as the tide comes
in and fish in waist deep
Commercial fishermen fish on the reefs mostly at night. The Venus Ark shell (kaikoso) or small prawns (moci)
in small creeks in the mangroves using small nets and are used as bait. Monofilament fishing line
has replaced bush rope. People first started using monofilament line about
Makita, are rnulti pronged sharp metal 5 cm diameter rods fixed to 2 m long wooden stick and used to spear fish from a boat.
30 years ago and by the early 1970's this had completely replaced bush rope. The line is usually wrapped
around empty plastic bottles. Fish commonly caught with
together using the forest vine, wa me.TheFAp is then
put across mangrove creeks and left for several weeks. Either men or women return to the FAD with nets at
hand lines are listed in Table 2.
low tide to catch the fish seeking shelter
Fish Attracting Devices A traditional fish attracting device (FAD) used by the fishermen is called sago. It is constructed by placing large branches of mangrove trees in piles on the subtidal mudflats. They are kept in place by "V" shaped
branches that are pushed into the mud. Nuqa (Siganus
Crustacean Mangrove Fisheries
Mangroves are common along the coast and host a
diverse and abundant crustacean community. Crustaceans
commonly caught for food include mud crabs (qari), crabs (kuka), land crabs (lairo), and mud lobsters
(man'a) (Table l).
The mud crabs are caught in the creeks using a type
spp.) feed on the decaying bark and they, along with the mud crabs, seek shelter among the branches. For communal gatherings and feasts, groups of men place a long net around the sago at low tide. Then several
of net called lawasua. The net is
with two bent sticks, usually small mangrove prpp roots, tied diagonally to each other on the corners of the net. Three or four land crabs are then tied together in
jump into the water and beat the water with sticks scaring the fish and mud crabs into the net.
cluster using a vine (wa me) and placed in the middle
Another kind of FAD that the villagers use in the
mangroves is made of thin bamboo poles about 3 m
of the net. The net is then put into the creek and is
weighed down using stones tied to the corners of the
net. Ropes from the four comers are attached to a rope
long. The poles are smashed into thin pieces and tied
Journal of The Pacific Society
- 79 (Vo]. 21, No.1 - 2 )
4. A cage for catching gari (crabs).
A common method of catching mud lobsters (man'a)
which goes to the surface. When the float attached to the net bobs the net is lifted up with the catch.
Another way to catch crabs is to use a baited crab trap made out of chicken wire (Fig. 4). This is a new
technique practiced by villagers since the 1970's. This techniques uses less effort and is more popular, but cost
is called kucokuco in Rewa villages, but known
kucukucuraki or butubuturakl elsewhere. The method involves finding the lower ends of the burrow at high
tide and then forcing water into the burrow using the foot or less commonly the hand. This surging motion
irritates the animal causing
more than the traditional technique.
it to come to the surface
of the burrow where it is caught by hand.
The man'a snare trap. Details for setting the snare are shown in the upper left (after Pillai, 1985).
female). Villagers prefer the high fat content of the ripe ovaries. In the cooler months (June - August) many of the burrows are covered with mud and the females are
berried or spent (Pillai, 1985). The crab (kuka) is usually caught during low tides. Women and occasionally men dig them out of their burrows in the mangroves using their hands (Fig. 7)
or small spades. From May to October the [rabs usu-
ally come out of their holes and climb up mangrove trunks and are collected by hand.
The larger crabs and mud lobsters are an important
source of income. Bundles of six or seven mud crabs
are sold on along the road in the village. The price
ranges from $F20 -$F40
($Fl = US$0.67 October
according to size and number of crabs in a btndle, Kukn
are sold for $F2 to $F3 a bundle mud lobster (man'a) sells for lobsters sold.
to 13 crabs
depending on size and season in the Suva market. The
$Fl per animal. There is little size variation between individuals of mud
Another method is the snare trap (Fig. 5) (Pillai, 1985) which is set at the entrance to the burrows. The
trap is only set by men and is made using a
Nets are the main fishing method used in freshwater streams. The nets are approximately
x I m with
young mangrove branch and two strings. The branch
small wooden sticks tied at the sides of the net. Pairs of women are the primary fishers using this technique.
The women's fishing season is from June to November,
is pushed into the mud near the burrow entrance and
a Iong string
with a loop on the end, termed va, is placed
the dry season. The women push the net through the
water as a group catching mainly freshwater eels (duna) and prawns (moci). After heavy floods men fish in the freshwater, usually at night, using spears, klives, nets
near the bunow entrance (Fig. 6). Another short string
60 cm long) is tied to the trap stick at one end and
3 - 5 cm) stick is tied to the other end of the string to function as a trigger. The trigger is held
and pressure lamps.
in place by a small slender stick (- 10 cm long) that is placed in the burrow with one end protruding above
the surface of the burrow near the opening. In the course
SOCIAL CUSTOMS AND CONSERVA. TION METHODS
The introduction of European culture and traditions,
saw the loss of some of the Fijian traditions and customs
of making visits during high tides to the burrow entrance tbe mud lobster disturbs the stick and releases
associated with fishing. For instance, during the pre contact period fishers were required by custom to give the largest fish caught to their chief. Today that custom
The season for catching mud lobsters is between
December and April when the females are ripe.
Three different forms of the mud lobster (Thalassina
is all but
anomala) are caught: man'a batibati (one big chelae), man'a culadi (both chelae of the same stze) and man'a
However, a few customs still persist. One of the few
traditions is the prohibition of fishing (taboo) when an elderly member or the head of a clan owning a fishing ground (mataqali) passes away. The taboo period usu-
dabai (bright yellow ovaries inside telson
Journal of The Pacific Society
1998/No.78-79 (Vo].21, No.1 2)
Juvenile Kuka (crab, Sesarma erythrodactyla) caught by villager.
ally lasts for 100 nights after which a feast is hosted by the clan to mark the end of the mourning period
and the removal of the fishing ban. Another custom is
that pregnant women are not allowed to go fishing. It
is believed that they would return with no catch or cause
others not to catch anylhing. Finally,
it is forbidden to
eat dabea (Gymnothorax
spp.) and ogo (Sphyraena barracuda) because they are
known to be poisonous.
There are several conservation management strategies used. Small fish, prawns, and crabs are released
when trapped. Mangrove crabs, mud lobsters, and rab-
bit fish are only caught in seasons when they are known
to be mature. Since the villagers are devout Christians,
there is no fishing on Sunday. This effectively reduces
fishing pressure on the resource by one seventh.
The traditional aquatic resource conservation methods that have helped sustain a small subsistence popu-
lation for many generations must now be adapted to the needs of a changing society. The society is actively
debating what new strategies must be adopted. The use
of long gill nets by commercial fishermen is perceived
Gill net fishing is practiced by both commercial and subsistence
ffi78/7eE (ffizr&ffi1 /2==)
.ions in Marine
the sea ) in Fiji. Pacific.
by some in the village as a threat to the sustainability of many of the fisheries (Fig. 8) and there is talk about
restricting their use.
Dougherty, G. 1988. Heavy metal conce bivalves from Fiji's coastal w
It is considered by some
outsiders that village
Bulletin. 19(2):81 -84.
societies are not able to adapt their conservation strategies in time to prevent a decline of the target species
Gounder, N. 1995. The reproductive biology
urchin Tripneuste s gratilla
M.Sc. Thesis, University of the
populations. The villagers have said perhaps, but that
this is not different than what has happened to much
Lal, P.N. and C. Slatter, 1982.The integration
of the developed world's fisheries. However, the villagers have expressed the opinion that they hope that the modern concept of sustainable development will be
as beneficial to the villagers as the traditional concepts
in fisheries development in Fiji:
an ESCAP/FAO initiated project
report of improvwomen
ing the socio-economic condition Division and University of the
in the fisherfolk communities. Fiji Fisheries
We are grateful to the people of Naimasimasi village for sharing their knowledge about the sea. Fund-
Matthews, E. 1995. (ed.). Fishing.for Answe
and Fisheries in the Pacific and Fisheries Network. pp. 177. Maybin, J.A. 1989. Ecological and
ing came from the University of the South Pacific
University Research Committee, grant #6291-131770766-15. This work was undertaken while N.J.Q. was
of Anadara (Mollusca: Bivalvia)
some neighbouring islands groups. sis, University
a J. William Fulbright Fellow in the Biology Deparrment at the University of the South Pacific. Prof.
of the South Pacific,
Newell deserves particular recognition for his support
and encouragement. We are grateful to S. Appana who
Naidu, S., W.G. L. Aalbersberg, J.E. Brodie, V.
M. Maata, M. Naqasima,
Whippy and R.J. on segional
entered an early version
of the manuscript into
Morrison. 1991. Water quality studi
lected South Pacific lagoons. UNEP Seas Reports and Studies No.
computer and to both S. Appana and V. Delana for helping with the editing, proofreading and discussions
about Fijian fishing practices. We also thank Dr. Bar-
Reports and Studies No. 49. Sout
Naidu, S.D. and R.J. Morrison. 1994. Con Suva Harbour,
bara Kojis for her comments and corrections.
Regional Environment Programme. pp. 99.
1993. A Descriptions of Temporal and
1996. An investigation of
Spatial Fishing Patterns in SLIVA,
and fisheries issues concerning
antiquata (Mollusca, Bivalvia: Arci
Thesis. University of Newcastle upon Tyne,
England. pp. 153
Chung, M. 1995. Linking population, environment, and gender: The case of Suva Harbour,
Batissa violacea (Bivalvia: Co
M.Sc. Thesis. University of the Sou
Suva, Fiji. pp. 133.
Fishing for Answers: Women and Fisheries in the Pacific Islands. E. Matthews (ed.). Women
1981. The environmental conseq management of coral sand dredging grass beds
and Fisheries Network. pp. 109-122.
Suva region, Fiji Islands. mangrove
1992. Survey of the point sources of indus-
Bull. Mar. Scl. 31(3):814.
trial pollution entering the port waters of Suva. Engineering Dept., Ports Authority of Fiji,
Pillai, G. 1985. The mana, or
Quinn, N.J. and M.T. Davis. 1997. Fijian
Journal of The Pacific Society
- 79 (Vol. 21, No.1 - 2 )
off Suva Point, Fiji: productivity and Public Health Considerations.
South Pacffic Journal of Natural Science.
South, G. R. 1993. Edible seaweeds: an important source
M.Sc. Thesis University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji. pp. 146.
1995. Fishing activities of ',yomen
of the Suva Pony Club squatter settlement, Fiji. In: Fishing for Answers: Women and
Fisheries in the Pacffic Islands. E. Matthews
(ed.). Women and Fisheries Network. pp. 3342.
of food and income to indigenous Fijians. pp.
43-47.In: Matthews, E. 1995. (ed.). Fishing
Women and Fisheries in the Pacffic Islands. Women and Fisheries Net-
Veitayaki, J., Bidesi, V.R., Matthews, E., and A. Ballou. 1996. Preliminary baseline survey of marine
work. pp. 177.
Stewart, C. and S.J. de Mora. 1992. Elevated tri(n-
of Kaba Point, Fiji. Marine Studies
butyl)tin concentrations in shellfish and sediments from Suva Harbour,Frji. Appl. Orgonometallic Chemistry 6:507 -512.
Tabudravu, J.N. 1995. Experimental and field evalua-
Technical Report 9611, University ofthe South
Pacific, Suva, Fiji. pp. 65.
1995. Subsistence fishing, women and
modemisation in Fiji. In: Fishing for Answers:
Women and Fisheries
tion of Enteromorpha flexuosa as an indicator of heavy metal pollution by Zinc, Lead
and Copper in coastal waters of Lami, Fiji.
in the Pacific Islands.
E. Matthews (ed.). Women and Fisheries
Network. pp. 101-107.
Table 1: List of shellfish and algae caught by Naimasimasi villagers by alphabetical order of the scientific name.
Venus ark shell
Anadara antiquata Cardisoma carnifex
gleaning gleaning gleaning gleaning gleaning gleaning
mangrove, mudflat mangrove mangrove, mudflat reef flat, mudflat mangrove, mudflat mangrove, mudflat lagoon, reefs mangrove mangrove, mudflat mangrove mangrove, mudflat reef flat reef flat
land crab mud oyster
civa ura kuka
Pinctada margaritifera Panulirus versicolor
blacklip pearl shell
man'a qari vatu
Solieria robusta Thalassina anomala Thalamita crenata Tridacna spp. Trochus sp.
mud lobsters swimmer crab giant clams Trochus shells
gleaning gleaning gleaning
/7eE (ffi21&ffi1 2E)
Table 2: List of fish caught by Naimasimasi villagers by alphabetical order of the
Blue spotted ray
Amphotistius kuhlii Caranx ignobilis
nets, spears nets, hand line, spears nets nets, hand line, spears
lagoon reef, I
reef, outside lagoon reef, lagoon,
kawakawa kanailagi matu
Cod Rainbow runner Silver biddy Golden Trevally
Epinephelus spp. Elagatis bipinnulatus Gerres spp. Gnathanodon speciosus Gymnothorax spp. Hemiramphus far Lethrinus elongatus
nets, hand line, spear
hand line, nets net hand line, nets hand line, nets
hand line hand line
Barred garfish Long nosed emperor
Yellow tailed emperor
kawago kabatia damu kake qitawa
Thumbprint emperor Mangrove jack
Blackspot perch Orange spotted perch
L. mahsena L. nebulosus L. harak
Lutj anus argentimaculatus
hand line, gill nets
hand line, nets nets nets nets, hand line, spears spears, nets nets nets, hand line nets hand line nets, hand line
reef, mudflats lagoon lagoon reef,
Unicom fish Coral trout
Green trigger fish
Mainly M. cephalus
Pseudobalistes fl avimarginatus
Chub mackerel Five banded parrot Rabbit
Scarus ghobban Siganus spp
mudflats outside reef,
Mainly Siganus vermiculatus
Barracuda Long tom
Linn, Brian McAllister, Guardian of Empire: The U.S. Army and the 1902-1949, Chapel Hill, North Carolina: University of North Carolina
It is now
years since the end of the
of Hawaii's "pineapple
army," and the
Pacific War, and it is about time that excellent books
Philippine's "carabao army." He is quite insightful on both of these military groups
is "must reading" for both American and
like the present volume begin appearing. Author Linn's
purpose is to show that the reason the United States
lost Guam, Wake, the Philippines, and was defeated
surprisingly at Pearl Harbor, was not due to a failure
ars of the Pacific War and its background
is refreshingly new in its approach and presen
of intelligence or of incompetence on the part of
American military commanders, but rather was the result
academic institutions where WWII
will shortly be on the reading lists for al in the
of American strategic and institutional
lowards the entire Pacific region.
Linn builds his argument on a careful historical
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.