Workshop discusses traditional fishing
By Emmanuel T. Erediano
Variety News Staff
THREE local fishermen discussed traditional fishing methods during a workshop at the Pacific Islands Club yesterday.
The workshop, spearheaded by the Children of Our Homeland Center, aims to educate the public on traditional fishing techniques which, according to assistant project coordinator Anicia Q. Tomokane, not only help conserve marine resources but also promote the local people’s cultural identity.
Funded by a grant from the Administration for Native Americans, the whole-day workshop was also sponsored by Northern Marianas College’s Cooperative Research Extension and Education Services and the Joeten-Kiyu Public Library.
Traditional fishing, according to one of the presenters, Stan M. Taisacan, is something that has not been practiced for the past 40 years.
Taisacan, who represents Rota on the Commonwealth Council for Arts & Culture board of directors, discussed the “achuman technique” of gathering fish.
It is done with a use of poiu, a device made of stone and coconut shell, and young coconut meat as bait.
“This one is better in conserving marine resources because with this method, you will get only what you need,” he said.
And it is not difficult to catch fish when one masters the technique, he said.
Lino Olopai, a Carolinian culture lecturer, shared his knowledge on traditional fish traps.
He demonstrated the use of ull wall osch, a woven fish trap used for general reef fish; the breadfruit leaf kite used to catch “needlefish without the use of a metal hook; and the use of coconut shell with line and bait to catch flying fish.
Artist, Chamorro historian researcher and lecturer, and experimental archeologist, Noel B. Quitugua, discussed traditional tools and fishing implements.
Jack Ogumoro, the CNMI coordinator of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, acted as moderator in the workshop.
He said they are now trying not only to talk about traditional fishing but also practicing it.
Traditional fishing should now be incorporated into modern management tools for the conservation and protection of marine resources, he said.
Traditional fishing techniques, he added, “are based on responsible fishing. They promote respect for the ocean.”
Dr. Teny Topalian, coral reef ecologist of the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration’s Pacific Island Regional Office, discussed how traditional fishing techniques help promote the preservation of marine biodiversity and cultural diversity.
Ann Asis Tores, a young participant from Hopwood Junior High School, described the workshop as “fascinating.”
I didn't take many pictures at the workshop, so this is going to be the boring post, although I posted one picture of all the participants in an earlier post.
Mylene talked about Day 2 on her blog, Mylene Rocks.