Deep sea fishing master shares skills with Fijians

Salesi Soqe: Picture VILIMAINA NAQELEVUKI

SALESI Tuipolotu Soqe of Daliconi district of Mualevu, Vanua Balavu in Lau is a master of deep sea fishing and has travelled all over Fiji to teach other villagers of this skill.

The 81-year-old began learning this skill several years ago, after fishing grounds were restricted in order for the fish to replenish itself for future generations.

“Before the ice plant was built in Malaka in 2004, I had begun teaching those on this island how to fish in deep waters because there are different species of fish you could find there, fishes that could feed a whole village,” Mr Soqe said.

He said it took him 10 years to master this skill.

“There used to be two teachers here who unfortunately have passed on but they used to give me money so that I could pay for the diesel to go out beyond the reef to teach myself how to fish there, it has now paid off,” he said.

He said for an iTaukei it was important to learn alternative ways of fishing since “we don’t have the necessary equipment needed”.

“For us iTaukei, if we don’t have the money we could learn how to fish without using a fishing rod, just use different sorts of bait and know where exactly to fish from out in the deep waters,” he said.

“You need to use different sorts of bait for different fish, it’s a skill I had taught myself and will continue to teach others for as long as I live.”

The Daliconi villager has travelled to parts of Kadavu and other parts of Fiji, who have requested for his assistance.

“I have gone to Kadavu and taught villagers of Nabukelevu-i-Ra all the way to Nakasaleka on deep sea fishing,” he said.

“Now I can continue to do this work with the help of the Ministry of Fisheries, a lot of people did not know the different species of fish that can be found in deep waters.”

Mr Soqe calls this method “sudra yanu ki wai titobu”.

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