22 Jul Maila yan Peska — Come and Fish!
Maila yan Peska!
This summer, I organized cultural fishing workshops to teach the youth of Guam about sustainable fishing methods. The Peskadot (Fisherman) Junior Ranger Angler workshops were created as a way to preserve Pacific cultures while also educating young children about conservation. Each workshop featured four activities: Talaya throwing, fishing slings, Yapese lemmai kites, and rod and reel fishing.
Talaya throwing is a traditional fishing technique used in Guam, passed down through generations as a way to quickly catch schools of fish. A talaya is a large circular net, ranging from 8-15 feet, with weights at the ends. Talayerus (talaya fishermen) wait patiently on the shore or out on the reef, watching the water closely for schools of fish. Once they spot a group of fish, they skillfully throw the talaya open up to encompass the fish. When the net sinks down, the fish are trapped! Talayeru Vicente R. Hernandez volunteered with us to help teach the children how to throw a talaya.
Sling fishing utilizes a spear and a sling device to launch the spear. Ranger Rufus Haspalur helped the children make slings before letting them practice on our targets! Safety was a priority with this activity.
Ranger Rufus also taught the children how to make Yapese lemmai kites, called hechaug in Yapese, by poking coconut spines through lemmai leaves and attaching string to the coconut spines. These kites are used in Yap as a way to locate fish. They are flown over the water with bait attached at the end; when fish bite, the kite is pulled down and their location is revealed! This method helps fishermen avoid scaring off the fish.
Ranger Kina-Nicole Lewis and I taught the kids rod and reel fishing as well!
Some of our participants even caught fish by using the rod and reel and talaya methods! We released the fish back into the water since they were too small.
At the end of the activities, the children received their Junior Ranger Angler badges.
Special thanks to all the families that participated in our workshop, to our VIPs Mr. Enqi and Mr. Hernandez, to Mrs. Aina Fleming, and to Rangers Kina-Doreen Lewis, Kina Nicole Lewis, and Rufus Haspalur for assisting me!