August 26, 2009

“Palakau” Fishing Experience


To be adapted to the Mother Nature is the traditional life style of Taiwan’s aborigines. In order to survive the swamp environment, Amis tribe in Ma Tai An area in Wua-Lien developed the eco- friendly fishing method, calls “Palakau”


Amis tribe is using “Trap” instead of “Catch” fishing method to trap all the fish and shrimp. By using a triangle fish net, all fish can be easily trapped. It sounds unbelievable, but that is exactly how it works.


Ma Tai An is located at the Ma-Shi mountain, Kwang-Fu township in Wua-Lien. It is a 12 hectare swamp area and also the largest wetland in Wua-Lian. It is a rich natural habitat area with a huge variety of water plants and all types of frogs and birds.


Ma Tai An is where the Amis tribe is located. Due to the swamp environment, “ Palakau” was developed to fit their unique life style. “Palakau” is to build a pond that fish or shrimp can live and reproduce. Only a small amount of fish and shrimp can be caught at a time so that enough population is maintained in the pond.


Local Amis have built small ponds by the Fu-Deng Creek in Ma Tai An. There is an opening in each pond so that the creek water can re-circulate. Fish are able to stay and leave in the pond through the opening. At the bottom of the pond, there is bedding built for them. When we need to catch the fish or shrimp, the opening of the pond would be closed, so all of them would be trapped to be caught in the pond.


The chief carefully explained to the visitors about the structures of the “Palakau”.


“Palakau” has three layers. The bottom layer is made with bamboo tubes or tree trunks. The middle layer is tightened with branches or twigs. The top layer is covered with weeds or palm tree leaves. “Palakau” is placed in the pond for the bedding.


The top layer is for the fish that have scales, such as the Wu-Gou fish. The middle twig layer is for the small fish and shrimp to stay. The bottom bamboo tube layer is for the fish that have no scales, such as eel, bass kind of fish to stay.


The waste and the food of the top layer fish will fall to the second layer to become the food for the small fish and shrimp on the second layer. The dead fish become the food for the bottom layer fish. This is the structure of the “ Palakau”.


After we understood the structure, of course we needed to try it ourselves. We took off our shoes and socks, rolled up the pants, and got ready to walk into the pond!


Step 1: Move away the top layer palm trees cover.


Step 2: Place the triangle fish net into the water.


Step 3: Hold the twigs and lightly racket the twigs to let small fish and shrimp to fall into the net. In order to do this, two persons are needed with one holding the twigs and the other the net.


Step 4: To pour the fish in the bamboo tube into the net, you have to close the opening on one side, so that the fish would not run through.


Step 5:The fish we caught are ready to be cooked!


Only a small amount of fish would be caught at a time. The remaining fish can reproduce in the pond. With the “ Palakau” experience, we understood and learned how the natives have adapted their lifestyle to the Mother Nature. Read More


Anonymous said...

Very impressive!! I admire how they respect life and nature, and practice them in a humane way. - Teresa

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