Posts Tagged ‘fish’

Flying Fish

So what is a flying fish? A fish that has wings and flies? Well, pretty much, only that its “wings” are called pectoral fins. According to Wikipedia, in order to glide upward out of the water, a flying fish moves its tail up to 70 times per second; then it spreads its pectoral fins and tilts them slightly upward to provide lift.

Flying fish love tropical and subtropical waters. That is why they can be found in Yap. Different countries have different ways of catching flying fish. In Yap, they are usually caught while flying, using nets held from outrigger canoes. The Yapese light torches because they know flying fish are attracted to the light. Fishing is thus done only when there is no moonlight.

Fishing on Yap is seasonal. “Roahroah” for example is Emperor fish which can also be found in Yap, and it’s caught during the summer when ocean waters are calm and the Yapese do bottom fishing inside lagoons. When flying fish are in the lagoon, at first only one canoe goes out into the water. The men who can make magic are on that canoe.  The ritual goes that a local magician or the men who know magic put it in the channels. Then people usually wait about a month before anyone can go out fishing.

When they fish the first fish of the season, the whole Yapese community goes. Women pick breadfruit and bring it to the Men’s House in return for the fish the men have caught. If a magician’s spell on the waters does not bring fish, the Yapese blame him, not the ocean, and the magician can stay in the Men’s House for up to a month.