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Importance of Fish
Fishing Seasons
Wind, Rain, Currents
Fishing Grounds
Fishing Gods, Shrines, Prayers
Fishing Legends
Fishing Methods
Specific Fish
Other Seafood
Fish Preparation/Eating
Fishing Sources

Talk Story
Father, son and shark
By Jamie

"An old Hawaiian man told me a story about fishing with his father in the mud flats of Kaneohe Bay. According to his account, sharks in the water would rub and bump up against their legs. He remembered his father telling him not to be afraid, as his father would stick his hand in the water and push the sharks away.
He felt that sharks can pick up on certain vibrations when people are afraid.
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Importance of Fish

Ancient Hawaiians drew their sustenance - physical and spiritual - from the land and sea around them. Guided by a philosophy that paired a cycle of cultivating and harvesting plants and animals with conservation of those resources, they lived in balance with their environment. Within this context, fishing held a central role. Seafood provided the primary protein in the Hawaiian diet, complementing vegetable staples such as taro, sweet potato and breadfruit. Ocean resources were so important that the ahupua`a system of land division ensured each district had access to the sea along a swath of shoreline and beyond to fisheries. Within each pie-shaped division, fishing communities exchanged with upland farmers, supplying fish, shellfish, seaweed, and salt to the entire district.

Fishermen maintained personal and spiritual relationships with the sea, acquiring extensive knowledge of shore and reef areas, honing their diving skills to locate fish, spear fish, free nets, and set traps. The many proverbs, prayers, and tales attest to the importance of fishing in Hawaiian culture. A successful fisherman was a highly valued asset for his entire community. The historian Kamakau wrote that the fortunate fisherman "was like a lucky woman who attracts men by the fragrance of her skin."

 Sites for further information

"The Fisherman Ku'ulakai" by Carol Silva (Aloha Airlines)

Major Aspects of Traditional Hawaiian Culture: Marine Activities, Inshore and Offshore Fishing, and Techniques (National Park Service)

The Use of Traditional Hawaiian Knowledge in the Contemporary Management of Marine Resources

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