A few days later my mother was visiting with an American wildlife biologist working on Saipan. Inside his office was a picture of a similar mallard and my mother told the biologist that her husband had just shot and eaten a bird just like the one in the picture.
The biologist replied, "That was probably the last one."
The first time I went to Anatahan I went coconut crab hunting with my father.
Coconut crabs are the largest land-living arthropod in the world. The biggest one I've ever seen was about the size of a big lobster, but according to some sources they can get as big as a small dog.
We eat them...and they taste really good.
On this particular night we found several crabs, all of which were inside our bellies a few short hours later. While hunting we took every crab we found, except for the female crab we found carrying eggs.
She was let go so she could go replenish her species.
A few weeks ago when I was in Pohnpei I had the opportunity to talk to a local fisherman. I have to admit that I didn't really do much talking. Mostly I just listened. This is what he told me:
"I am tired of these haoles always talking about their right to fish. They do not have a right to fish. Nobody has a right to fish. In Micronesia the fish have always belonged to the chief. Fishing is a privilege."******
In the battles over how we can effectively use our natural resources things can quickly get ugly.
In today's Saipan Tribune, John Gourley, a man who goes around this island calling himself a bio-stitute (a combination of biologist and prostitute), accuses a local fisherman who works at one of the natural resource agencies of having "very little respect for local cultural fishing practices." Ironically enough, Mr. Gourley was defending another local fisherman who works at one of the other natural resource agencies.
In his latest blog post, Mike Tripp, a man from a nation known for politeness and calm demeanors, casts doubt on the truthiness of Mr. Gourley's accusations.
There is much more to be said on the topic of conservation.
Expect future posts.