Coastal Fisheries Programme
Tuesday, 22 July 2014 17:01

Training on alternative fishing methods in Palau

flyingfish_scoopSPC recently conducted a two-week training workshop in Ngarchelong on fishing methods currently not being commonly done in Palau. SPC brought Mr. John Uriao, a fisherman from Rarotonga, Cook Islands, to show fishermen from Ngarchelong and Kayangel how to catch flying fish, locally known as “kok”. Cruising outside the reef at night, fishermen using a high-powered light source mounted on a helmet, catch flying fish swimming near the surface using a scoop net with an extra long handle.

The training included sessions on building the necessary equipment and nightly fishing trips. Two two-hour fishing trip yielded an average of 80 fish. The flying fish grilled over the fire, fried and even eaten raw is delicious. With a mild flavor and slightly tasting like the gold spot herring (mekebud), the flying fish is surely to be a sought-after food fish. The flying fish is also very good bait for larger pelagic fish like the Spanish mackerel (ngelngal), Barracuda (ai), and Dogtooth tuna (kerngab). Fishermen from Kayangel and Ngarchelong are excited about this new fishery.Palau people will certainly look for flying fish at upcoming night markets!

SPC also brought Carl McNeal, a fly fishing expert from New Zealand to scout areas in the northern reef area to assess the potential for fly fishing ventures in Palau.Fishermen took McNeal to fish the reef drop offs, sand flats and mangrove fringes to look for potential sport fish. Salt water sport fish include species like bonefish (suld), mesekelat (milkfish), trevally (erobk, oruidel), snappers, emperors and groupers. Fly fishing is a popular sport in other places in the world. It is sustainable (catch and release) and if managed properly, it has the potential to bring in a lot of economical benefits to the local people. Bad weather conditions prevented extensive surveys, so other productive areas will be assessed by local partners. If enough target species or areas are found, SPC can provide future trainings for fly fishing techniques, guides, and tying of flies.

This fishery training is part of a larger ongoing fishery management project between the states of Kayangel and Ngarchelong.  Research has shown that approximately 60% of the fish caught in the northern reefs have not had the opportunity to reproduce. Finding alternative and non-extractive fishery opportunities will assist in allowing the populations of reef fish in the north to recover from heavy fishing pressure.

Michel Blanc, Fisheries Development Adviser for SPC made the fishery development training possible. Local support came from The Nature Conservancy, the Bureau of Marine Resources and the Palau Conservation Society.


For more information: Michel Blanc, SPC Nearshore Fisheries Development Adviser

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