HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 585: 12 October 2011

From their reef to our table
Sam has a plan to trap reef fish in the northern group for the table of fish lovers in Rarotonga.

A small group of locals plan to submit to Mark Brown the Minister for the Business Trade Investment Board, a proposal to set up a reef fishing enterprise in the northern group which will provide fresh, chilled reef fish for sale on Rarotonga.
Sam Crocombe announced the proposed venture to the Herald on Monday.
Unfortunately, pollution meant it was not advisable to eat reef fish around Rarotonga.
Crocombe said his proposal has not been put to the Cook Islands Fishing Association and its affiliates but he said they could also benefit.
Crocombe explained the venture, which will be discussed with the northern island councils, is to install fish traps in the northern islands. These traps are based on those he has seen used in Bora Bora, Tahiti when living there in the mid 1980s.
Crocombe said he has always had an interest in fish traps as his grandfather had a stone one on the western side of Avatiu harbour.
According to Crocombe the fish trap was an easy way to get fresh fish. He said that seven years ago he had thought of setting one up in Nikao lagoon so tourists could see fish being trapped. However, the Environment service stepped in and halted Ministry of Works from dredging the lagoon. He did not proceed with the fish trap.
His interest in fish traps surfaced when he went on the recent grower’s trip to Tahiti. Also on the trip was Tangi Ngapara from Manihiki, a keen fisherman. Fish caught in traps on Tahiti’s outer islands are brought chilled and fresh, whole and ungutted to Papeete and auctioned at the wharf. The fish is then taken and sold in the Market at Papeete.
When the grower’s group returned from Tahiti, he met with Minister Hon Mark Brown to discuss the proposal for fish traps. He informed the Minister his plan was to send a small group of four to the Tuamotu group in Tahiti to see the fish traps there with a view to establishing a pilot project in Manihiki.
Crocombe said he already has Tahitian contacts ready and waiting to assist.
He said the pilot project would see fresh fish being sorted and stringed up. If time permitted, the fish would be gutted (but not filleted). The fish would be stored in chillers (solar powered) awaiting shipment to Rarotonga.
Crocombe said on the recent trip to Tahiti, he took the group to see how the Tahitians incorporated local materials such as kikau and pandanus, and timbers into hotel and public building construction and interiors. He said it was something that could be done here to create work for outer islanders supplying Rarotonga with local items. Although local natural materials were not as long lasting as plastic, concrete, steel or treated timbers, its use would create ongoing employment for locals utilizing local products. It would give the “Go local” slogan true meaning.
Crocombe said he was impressed at the wide variety of crops the Tahitians grew in sand on the motus.
One method employed was to dog holes down to a certain depth and fill them with rich, black soil from the mainland. A more recent method was to cover the sand with polythene and dig holes for each plant.
This way, the Tahitians managed to grow grapes, watermelons, potatoes, limes and a wide variety of vegetables.
He said here in the Cook Islands we needed to try fresh ideas.
Crocombe said it was a great pity he did not become an MP as he felt he would have contributed much however his constituency did not see it that way. He thanked government for the opportunity to go to Tahiti.
If a small group did go back to Tahiti, Crocombe said he and Tangi and two others would make the trip. The intention is to go to Kokura in the Tuamotu group.
He said the Tahitians will come to help set up the pilot project. Placement of the traps was important and some prior research would be needed into currents and fish “paths.”
-Charles Pitt

Herald Issue 554 09 March
- Norm exposes Trio of Doom
- Briefs from PM’s media conference Tuesday
- Tourism Industry ponders $5 million draft strategy
- Norman George resigns from Cook Islands Party
- Letter of Resignation from CIP
- Norman selfish says Prime Minister

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