Thursday, October 22, 2009

This Week in Nature:The 4th week in October - 'ama'ama

What's Happening in Hawaii 
during the 4th week in October:

'Ama'ama, a native mullet, makes a six-month migration each year, beginning about this time and ending in April. On O'ahu, legend has it that schools of 'ama'ama swim from the leeward side to the windward side through an underground channel. The actual route is by sea, from 'Ewa around Koko Head and as far up the coast as Lā'ie. Mature 'ama'ama are called 'anae, and the Hawaiians distinguish 'anae-holo, migrating mullet, from 'anae-pali, cliff mullet. 'Anae spawn at sea before returning to the inshore, brackish water they generally prefer.

One of the principal fish in the Hawaiian diet, 'ama'ama are algae-eaters and were raised for royalty in a sophisticated, early form of aquaculture. Trapping nutrient-rich water from the lo'i (taro paddies), fishponds bred algae profusely and thus were ideal places to fatten 'ama'ama. The mullet was known as pua'a kai, or "sea pig," which could be given in offerings in place of an ordinary pig. Around Ke'ehi 'ama'ama were referred to as the "loud-voiced fish of Ke'ehi," owing to the noise fishermen made while driving them into nets. They also gave Wai'anae its name - "mullet waters."

Taken from "Hawaii: A Calendar of Natural Events"
published by the Bishop Museum and Kamehameha Schools in 1989

No comments:

Post a Comment