Walking into Tofo town along the beach every day gives us a unique viewpoint of the fishermen that work these waters.
From the older rod and reel guys to the young spearfishermen – their catches are as diverse as their capture methods are.
These kids are stripping bark from an indigenous tree called by them – ‘Pwe Pwe’.
They then crush the very green coloured bark into a paste mixed with sand. Then as the tide goes out, and in certain conditions – they throw this stuff into the pools and gullies.
The result is devastating. Every little fish swimming the pools goes belly up and is harvested!
The resource seems to maintain. Possibly because this is only a feasible fishing methods at certain tides and in certain conditions.
At Tofo on the point, you can count upwards of 50 fishermen and women engaged in this ancient practise occasionally.
The inter-tidal zone these folk operate in seems rich in resource still, but the rapidly increasing population due to the impact of the tourist dollar in the surrounding area invites questions concerning the ongoing sustainability and the impact on vulnerable species.
Since ths practice is as ancient as any, and the resource has survived hundreds or even thousands of years subject to it, you would think it could continue. Only more time will tell.
At Pemba the reefs running south support hundreds of seafood harvesters.
The younger crews up there use mosquito nets chiefly in the estuaries and on the reefs. On the estuaries they use lengths of mosquito net to drag with and learn the dynamics of netting.
On the reefs at low tide, the net is placed in the middle of a small pool and opened. Little hands then force the net into the tiny refuge offering caves and ledges. By this time most, if not all the little fishies swim into the middle if the net. The net is lifted up taking with it the entire collection. Gobies, tropicals of amazing colour and design, shrimps…and all sorts.
These happy and peaceful people harvest each low tide and the fresh collections are brewed into delicious seafood soups each day.
With the poverty here so abstract, this form of protein is vital to their lives.