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In Tahiti, tautai or master fishermen know when it is time to catch tuna by watching the behaviour of Frigate birds, terns and noddies. This is one example of traditional fishing knowledge that is ingrained in the culture and heritage of the region. Some of these techniques have evolved into rituals or ceremonies that are culturally significant. One such method is stone fishing, an ancient practice deeply rooted in Tahitian culture and originating in Maupiti. Traditional stone fishing serves as a unifying activity for entire villages and, at times, entire islands.
This unique tradition involves numerous boats gathering at opposite ends of an island. Men stationed at the bow of each boat use stones attached to long ropes to create ripples on the lagoon's surface. Frightened fish are guided toward the rau, a large net made from coconut palms. The net is held by the group and is gradually closed creating a smaller and smaller circle to trap the fish.
Tahitian fish hooks gallery
See fish hooks from Tahiti in the collection below. Click on each image to view full screen and use the zoom functionality for more detail of each fish hook.