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Journal of The Pacific Society / April 1998 / No. TB - Tg (Vo1. 21, No.

1 - 2 ) (11) 124

FISHING PRACTICES OF NAIMASIMASI VILLAGE


A COMMUTER VILLAGE OUTSIDE
SUVA, VITI LEVU, FIJI

Norman J. Quinnl
and
Jone Kanalagi

Biology Department, School of Pure and Applied Sciences


University of the South Pacific
Suva, Fiji

Aquatic resources have been an important part of sustainability of these marine resources.
the life of many Pacific Islanders for centuries. How- Additionally, villagers are aware of the effects that
ever, changes associatedwith a developing economy in increased pollution levels from modification of upland
Fiji have altered the way villagers utilize aquatic re- vegetation communities and urban chemical runoff have
sources. The proximity of Naimasimasi Mllage (Tailevu had on the marine environment in Fijian coastal waters
District, Viti Levu Island, Republic of Fiji) ro Fiji's (Penn, 1981; Dougherty, 1988; Cripps, 1992; Stewart
capital city, Suva, has resulted in a change from a and de Mora, 1992: Naidu et al. 1991: Naidu and
subsistence to a commuter community. Morrison, 1994; Tabudravu, 1995; Naqasima, 1996) and

Historically, the people of the village depended on are concerned about the potential for their resources to
both marine and freshwater resources for food and for become contaminated.

sale in the market. However, there has been a decline in Fiji have focused on
Recent fisheries studies
in the fishing activities over the last decade. New roads women's involvement (Lal and Slatter, 1982; Chung,
were constructed which improved access to urban areas 1995; Matthews, 1995; Tiraa-Passfield, 1995; Vunisea,
and urban employment. Today, about 20Vo of the vil- 1995), provided baseline catch information of a fishing
lage commutes daily to urban centers to work and only community (Veitayaki. et al. 1995r. analyzed fishing
a few families totally rely on fishing to meet their food pattems in relation to environmental factors (Beeching,
and income requirements. Many people who have ob- 1993), or documented the subsistence women's fishery
tained employment in urban centers have lost some of off Suva Point and its importance to many low income
their traditional knowledge about fishing. urban families and potential threars to the fishery (Quinn

The improved access to urban markets has influenced and Davis, 1997).

the remaining fishers to modify their fishing techniques This study is the first which examines the actual
and customs to increase their catches. This is perceived fishing techniques, local knowledge, and management
by others in the village as a threat to the long-term strategies of people from the Tailevu District of Fiji.

t Present Address:

Tropical Discoveries, P.O. Box 305874, Sr. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands 00g03
(r2) ,&+t++A# ree\+ ffi78/7e+ (ffi2r&ffi1/2+?)
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Figure 1. Guiding the boat through the mangroves.

Their catch is frozen until it is taken to Suva or Nauson


DESCRIPTION OF NAIMASIMASI VIL.
for sale to shops or in the market (Fig. 2).
LAGE
The number of people going out to fish is depen-
Naimasimasi Village is located on the southeastern dent upon weather conditions and the availability of
coast ofViti Levu about 40 km from Suva. The sur- target species. Some fish are seasonally plentiful in the
rounding area is hilly with rivers running to the man- lagoon. The fishing grounds in the lagoon and by the
grove lined coast. The villagers use the rivers to access reefs are named and considered to be owned and
the mud flats and inshore reefs. Although the high managed by various clans termed mataqali. Some of
volcanic islands of Fiji have abundant cultivable land, the fishing areas are more productive than others and
the sea remains a powerful influence supplying food are closely managed by the village governing bodies.
and identity to coastal people.

Only five households out of a community of 60 FISHING PRACTICES


households are totally dependent on fishing for their live-
The fishing methods commonly used are gleaning,
lihood. These families have small boats, outboard en-
gines, nets, and large freezers to preserve their catch. hand-lining, net fishing and spear fishing. Fishing is

Another 20 families have small punts that are used for done on the nearby mudflats, around patch reefs, in
lagoonal waters, in the mangroves and freshwater creeks.
fishing (Fig. l). The rest of the community usually just
walks to the mangrove and mudflats for collecting and
Gleaning
fishing.
Gleaning is the most common fishing method. The
Typically the commercial fishermen fish at least twice
collectors use their bare hands or a small knife and a
a week, normally on Wednesdays and Thursdays. They
collecting bag (noke) that is made from woven reeds.
commonly fish at night using gill nets and hand lines.
Journal of The Pacific Society / April 19gB / No. TB - Tg (Vol. 21, No. 1 2) (13) t22

Figure 2. Fish being sold at a shop and local market in Nausori, Fiji.
The following animals are commonly collected from the the preferred edible seaweed genera for Fijians, the
reef: seaurchins (cawaki), giantclams (vasua), trochus Naimasimasi villages prefer Solieria robusta.
(slcl) and Venus ark shell (ftalftoso).
The catch per unit effort (CPUE) of sea urchins on Net Fishing
these reefs is much higher than around Suva (Gounder, Gill net fishing is practiced by both commercial and
1995). This higher CPUE is probably the result of a subsistence fishermen. Commercial fishermen use 100
lower fishing pressure and larger populations of urchins. m long nets which are set in the lagoon at a low tide
Reef gleaning is done less frequently as access is and are checked after the next tidal cycle. Usually many
restricted to those with small boats which are able to fish are caught and the catch includes many small
traverse the lagoon waters. juveniles. This method has created conflict within the
The seafood commonly collected in the mangrove village because subsistence fishermen think this method
and on the mud flats using this method are listed in is a threat to the sustainability of the fishery.
Table L
There are two types of subsistence net fishing. One
Some of the aspects of catch differs from that technique uses long nets like the commercial fishermen,
reported elsewhere. Unlike the kaikoso population but only when there is an important village gathering
around Suva Peninsula, which appears to be limited to or communal feast.
the tidal flats most exposed to tidal currents and is The second type of net fishing is done by groups
temporally variable (Maybin 1989; Quinn and Davis, of both men and women on the mud flats and the
1997), the kaikoso population utilized by the shallow parts of the lagoon between the mud flats and
Naimasimasi villagers is common throughout a large barrier reef. The nets are typically 5 m by 3 m with
area of the intertidal zone and does not show any large wooden sticks at each end. The nets are carried by two
yearly variation in population size. Also, while South people as they wade tfuough waist deep water looking
(1993) states that Caulerpa, Hypnea and Gracilaria are for schools of fish. When a school is spotted they
(14)
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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
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
spear fishing is on the flood tide when the fish are
following the tide in search of food. The fish usually
caught using this technique are listed in Tables I and
2.

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 water.
Commercial fishermen fish on the reefs mostly at night.
The Venus Ark shell (kaikoso) or small prawns (moci)
are caughtin small creeks in the mangroves using small Figure 3. Makita, are rnulti pronged sharp
metal 5 cm diameter rods fixed to 2
nets and are used as bait. Monofilament fishing line m long wooden stick and used to
has replaced bush rope. spear fish from a boat.
People first started using monofilament line about
30 years ago and by the early 1970's this had com- together using the forest vine, wa me.TheFAp is then

pletely replaced bush rope. The line is usually wrapped put across mangrove creeks and left for several weeks.

around empty plastic bottles. Fish commonly caught with


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 there.

Fish Attracting Devices Crustacean Mangrove Fisheries

A traditional fish attracting device (FAD) used by Mangroves are common along the coast and host a

the fishermen is called sago. It is constructed by plac- diverse and abundant crustacean community. Crustaceans

ing large branches of mangrove trees in piles on the commonly caught for food include mud crabs (qari),

subtidal mudflats. They are kept in place by "V" shaped crabs (kuka), land crabs (lairo), and mud lobsters

branches that are pushed into the mud. Nuqa (Siganus


(man'a) (Table l).

spp.) feed on the decaying bark and they, along with The mud crabs are caught in the creeks using a type
the mud crabs, seek shelter among the branches. For of net called lawasua. The net is I mx I m square
communal gatherings and feasts, groups of men place with two bent sticks, usually small mangrove prpp roots,
a long net around the sago at low tide. Then several tied diagonally to each other on the corners of the net.
men jump into the water and beat the water with sticks Three or four land crabs are then tied together in a
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 of the net. The net is then put into the creek and is
mangroves is made of thin bamboo poles about 3 m weighed down using stones tied to the corners of the

long. The poles are smashed into thin pieces and tied net. Ropes from the four comers are attached to a rope
Journal of The Pacific Society / Aprl| 1998 / No.78 - 79 (Vo]. 21, No.1 - 2 ) (15)
- 120
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frEBiV

tW,
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i!aiiu 6iit
a6i

Figure 4. A cage for catching gari (crabs).


which goes to the surface. When the float attached to A common method of catching mud lobsters (man'a)
the net bobs the net is lifted up with the catch. is called kucokuco in Rewa villages, but known as

kucukucuraki or butubuturakl elsewhere. The method


Another way to catch crabs is to use a baited crab
involves finding the lower ends of the burrow at high
trap made out of chicken wire (Fig. 4). This is a new
tide and then forcing water into the burrow using the
technique practiced by villagers since the 1970's. This
foot or less commonly the hand. This surging motion
techniques uses less effort and is more popular, but cost
irritates the animal causing it to come to the surface
more than the traditional technique.
of the burrow where it is caught by hand.

Figure 5. The man'a snare trap. Details for setting the snare are shown in the upper left
(after Pillai, 1985).
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^Fi++A;fi
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 1997)
according to size and number of crabs in a btndle, Kukn
are sold for $F2 to $F3 a bundle of 10 to 13 crabs
depending on size and season in the Suva market. The
mud lobster (man'a) sells for $Fl per animal. There
is little size variation between individuals of mud
lobsters sold.

Freshwater fishing
Nets are the main fishing method used in freshwater
Another method is the snare trap (Fig. 5) (Pillai,
1985) which is set at the entrance to the burrows. The
streams. The nets are approximately I m x I m with
small wooden sticks tied at the sides of the net. Pairs
trap is only set by men and is made using a - 1.5 m
of women are the primary fishers using this technique.
young mangrove branch and two strings. The branch
The women's fishing season is from June to November,
is pushed into the mud near the burrow entrance and
the dry season. The women push the net through the
a Iong string with a loop on the end, termed va, is placed
water as a group catching mainly freshwater eels (duna)
near the bunow entrance (Fig. 6). Another short string
and prawns (moci). After heavy floods men fish in the
(- 60 cm long) is tied to the trap stick at one end and
freshwater, usually at night, using spears, klives, nets
a small (-
3 - 5 cm) stick is tied to the other end of
and pressure lamps.
the string to function as a trigger. The trigger is held
in place by a small slender stick (- 10 cm long) that SOCIAL CUSTOMS AND CONSERVA.
is placed in the burrow with one end protruding above TION METHODS
the surface of the burrow near the opening. In the course
The introduction of European culture and traditions,
of making visits during high tides to the burrow en-
saw the loss of some of the Fijian traditions and customs
trance tbe mud lobster disturbs the stick and releases
associated with fishing. For instance, during the pre
the trap.
contact period fishers were required by custom to give
The season for catching mud lobsters is between
the largest fish caught to their chief. Today that custom
December and April when the females are ripe.
is all but ignored.
Three different forms of the mud lobster (Thalassina
However, a few customs still persist. One of the few
anomala) are caught: man'a batibati (one big chelae),
traditions is the prohibition of fishing (taboo) when an
man'a culadi (both chelae of the same stze) and man'a
elderly member or the head of a clan owning a fishing
dabai (bright yellow ovaries inside telson - a ripe
ground (mataqali) passes away. The taboo period usu-
Journal of The Pacific Society /Apri1 1998/No.78-79 (Vo].21, No.1 2) (17)
- 118

iffi
ii

iil rii;

Figure 7. 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 strate-


gies 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 meth-


ods 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
Figure 8. Gill net fishing is practiced by
both commercial and subsistence
of long gill nets by commercial fishermen is perceived fishermen.
(18) ;tr+/+?A;f; ffi78/7eE (ffizr&ffi1 /2==)
- 117
- lee}+"4 E

by some in the village as a threat to the sustainability Suva, Fiji. pp.74.


of many of the fisheries (Fig. 8) and there is talk about Dougherty, G. 1988. Heavy metal conce .ions in
restricting their use. bivalves from Fiji's coastal w Marine
P ollution Bulletin. 19(2):81 -84.
It is considered by some outsiders that village
Gounder, N. 1995. The reproductive biology the sea
societies are not able to adapt their conservation strat-
urchin Tripneuste s gratilla ) in Fiji.
egies in time to prevent a decline of the target species
M.Sc. Thesis, University of the Pacific.
populations. The villagers have said perhaps, but that
pp. 144.
this is not different than what has happened to much
Lal, P.N. and C. Slatter, 1982.The integration women
of the developed world's fisheries. However, the vil-
lagers have expressed the opinion that they hope that
in fisheries development in Fiji: a report of
an ESCAP/FAO initiated project improv-
the modern concept of sustainable development will be
ing the socio-economic condition women
as beneficial to the villagers as the traditional concepts
of sustainable living.
in the fisherfolk communities. Fiji Fisheries
Division and University of the Pacific,
Suva, Fiji.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Matthews, E. 1995. (ed.). Fishing.for Answe Women
and Fisheries in the Pacific Women
We are grateful to the people of Naimasimasi vil-
and Fisheries Network. pp. 177.
lage for sharing their knowledge about the sea. Fund-
Maybin, J.A. 1989. Ecological and aspects
ing came from the University of the South Pacific
University Research Committee, grant #6291-1317-
of Anadara (Mollusca: Bivalvia) Fiji and
some neighbouring islands groups. . the-
70766-15. This work was undertaken while N.J.Q. was
sis, University of the South Pacific, va, pp.
a J. William Fulbright Fellow in the Biology Deparr-
88.
ment at the University of the South Pacific. Prof. P.
Naidu, S., W.G. L. Aalbersberg, J.E. Brodie, V. . Fuavo-
Newell deserves particular recognition for his support
M. Maata, M. Naqasima, P. Whippy and R.J.
and encouragement. We are grateful to S. Appana who
Morrison. 1991. Water quality studi on se-
entered an early version of the manuscript into the
lected South Pacific lagoons. UNEP gional
computer and to both S. Appana and V. Delana for
Seas Reports and Studies No. 1 SPREP
helping with the editing, proofreading and discussions
Reports and Studies No. 49. Sout Pacific
about Fijian fishing practices. We also thank Dr. Bar-
Regional Environment Programme. pp. 99.
bara Kojis for her comments and corrections.
Naidu, S.D. and R.J. Morrison. 1994. Con
Suva Harbour, Fiji. Marine Bulle-
LITERATURE CITED tin. 29(l-3):126-130.
Naqasima, M. 1996. An investigation of health
Beeching, A. J. 1993. A Descriptions of Temporal and
and fisheries issues concerning nadara
Spatial Fishing Patterns in SLIVA, FIJI. M.Sc.
antiquata (Mollusca, Bivalvia: Arci ) and
Thesis. University of Newcastle upon Tyne,
Batissa violacea (Bivalvia: Co lacea).
England. pp. 153
M.Sc. Thesis. University of the Sou Pacific,
Chung, M. 1995. Linking population, environment, and
Suva, Fiji. pp. 133.
gender: The case of Suva Harbour, Fiji. In:
Penn, N. 1981. The environmental conseq and
Fishing for Answers: Women and Fisheries in
management of coral sand dredging sea
the Pacific Islands. E. Matthews (ed.). Women
grass beds in the Suva region, Fiji Islands.
and Fisheries Network. pp. 109-122.
Bull. Mar. Scl. 31(3):814.
Cripps, K. 1992. Survey of the point sources of indus-
Pillai, G. 1985. The mana, or mangrove
trial pollution entering the port waters of Suva.
Domodomo.3(1):2-10.
Engineering Dept., Ports Authority of Fiji,
Quinn, N.J. and M.T. Davis. 1997. Fijian
Journal of The Pacific Society / April 1998 / No.78 - 79 (Vol. 21, No.1 - 2 ) (19)
- 116
-
off Suva Point, Fiji: pro-
subsistence fisheries M.Sc. Thesis University of the South Pacific,
ductivity and Public Health Considerations. Suva, Fiji. pp. 146.
South Pacffic Journal of Natural Science. Tiraa-Passfield, A. 1995. Fishing activities of ',yomen
15:61-90. of the Suva Pony Club squatter settlement,
South, G. R. 1993. Edible seaweeds: an important source Fiji. In: Fishing for Answers: Women and
of food and income to indigenous Fijians. pp. Fisheries in the Pacffic Islands. E. Matthews
43-47.In: Matthews, E. 1995. (ed.). Fishing (ed.). Women and Fisheries Network. pp. 33-
for Answers: Women and Fisheries in the 42.
Pacffic Islands. Women and Fisheries Net- Veitayaki, J., Bidesi, V.R., Matthews, E., and A. Ballou.
work. pp. 177. 1996. Preliminary baseline survey of marine
Stewart, C. and S.J. de Mora. 1992. Elevated tri(n- resources of Kaba Point, Fiji. Marine Studies
butyl)tin concentrations in shellfish and sedi- Technical Report 9611, University ofthe South
ments from Suva Harbour,Frji. Appl. Orgo- Pacific, Suva, Fiji. pp. 65.
nometallic Chemistry 6:507 -512. Vunisea, A. 1995. Subsistence fishing, women and
Tabudravu, J.N. 1995. Experimental and field evalua- modemisation in Fiji. In: Fishing for Answers:
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tor of heavy metal pollution by Zinc, Lead E. Matthews (ed.). Women and Fisheries
and Copper in coastal waters of Lami, Fiji. Network. pp. 101-107.

Table 1: List of shellfish and algae caught by Naimasimasi villagers by alphabetical order of the scien-
tific name.

Fijian Name English Name Latin Name Method Catch Location


kaikoso Venus ark shell Anadara antiquata gleaning mangrove, mudflat
lairo land crab Cardisoma carnifex gleaning mangrove
dio mud oyster Crassostrea mordax gleaning mangrove, mudflat
cawahi sea urchin Tripneustes gratilla gleaning reef flat, mudflat
drivi mangrove mussel Modiolus agripetues gleaning mangrove, mudflat
civa blacklip pearl shell Pinctada margaritifera gleaning mangrove, mudflat
ura spiny lobster Panulirus versicolor spears lagoon, reefs
kuka crab Sesarma erythrodactyla gleaning mangrove
lumi seaweed Solieria robusta gleaning mangrove, mudflat
man'a mud lobsters Thalassina anomala traps mangrove
qari vatu swimmer crab Thalamita crenata gleaning mangrove, mudflat
vasua giant clams Tridacna spp. gleaning reef flat
sici Trochus shells Trochus sp. gleaning reef flat
(20) 115
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Table 2: List of fish caught by Naimasimasi villagers by alphabetical order of the

Local Name English Name Scientific Name Method


vai Blue spotted ray Amphotistius kuhlii nets, spears lagoon
saqa Trevally Caranx ignobilis nets, hand line, spears reef, I
ta Surgeon fish Ctenochaetus stratus nets reef
kawakawa Cod Epinephelus spp. nets, hand line, spears reef,
kanailagi Rainbow runner Elagatis bipinnulatus hand line outside
matu Silver biddy Gerres spp. nets, hand line, spear
vilu Golden Trevally Gnathanodon speciosus hand line, nets lagoon
dabea Moray eel Gymnothorax spp. net reef,
busa Barred garfish Hemiramphus far hand line, nets lagoon,
dokanivudi Long nosed emperor Lethrinus elongatus hand line, nets reef
sabutu Yellow tailed emperor L. mahsena hand line reef,
kawago Spangled emperor L. nebulosus hand line reef
kabatia Thumbprint emperor L. harak hand line, gill nets reef,
damu Mangrove jack Lutj anus argentimaculatus nets, spear
kake Blackspot perch L. gibbus net reef,
qitawa Orange spotted perch Mesopristes kneri hand line, nets mudflats
kanace Mullet Mugil spp.
Mainly M. cephalus nets lagoon
ta Unicom fish Naso unicomis nets lagoon
donu Coral trout Plectropomus leopardus nets, hand line, spears reef,
cumu Green trigger fish Pseudobalistes fl avimarginatus spears, nets reef
salala Chub mackerel Rastrelliger brachysoma nets lagoon,
ulavi Five banded parrot fish Scarus ghobban nets, hand line reef
nuqa Rabbit fish Siganus spp nets mudflats
Mainly Siganus vermiculatus
ogo Barracuda Sphyraena barracuda hand line outside
saku Long tom Tyiosurus crocodilus nets, hand line reef,

BOOK REVIEW

Linn, Brian McAllister, Guardian of Empire: The U.S. Army and the
1902-1949, Chapel Hill, North Carolina: University of North Carolina 1997.

It is now more than fifty years since the end of the analysis of Hawaii's "pineapple army," and the
Pacific War, and it is about time that excellent books Philippine's "carabao army." He is quite e and
like the present volume begin appearing. Author Linn's insightful on both of these military groups is book
purpose is to show that the reason the United States is "must reading" for both American and schol-
lost Guam, Wake, the Philippines, and was defeated ars of the Pacific War and its background It
surprisingly at Pearl Harbor, was not due to a failure is refreshingly new in its approach and presen and
of intelligence or of incompetence on the part of the will shortly be on the reading lists for al serlous
American military commanders, but rather was the result academic institutions where WWII in the ific is
of American strategic and institutional ambivalence studied.
lowards the entire Pacific region. Dirk Anthony Ilendorf
Linn builds his argument on a careful historical University Guam