PAGO PAGO (ABC/Pacnews) — For the first time in 30 years, the village of Leone in American Samoa staged an atule harvest, where as many as 13,000 big eyed scad were caught, harvested and shared among villagers.
The ceremony is part of an ancient legend that is now being revived and has helped a younger generation connect with its culture and the environment.
Ranger Pua Tuaua from the American Samoa National Park Service took part in atule harvest as a young man and was on hand for May's harvest.
“One rule of doing the harvesting, as you bring the fish in is that you are never allowed to bite the fish in the water and you're not allowed to take any...everybody is going to take a piece of that,” he said.
Ranger Pua said the atule harvest hinges on several rules and key to it is that the fish is never sold and is shared with everyone.
It's believed that if that is not followed, the atule would stop coming in.
He said he was thankful at being able to share the experience with his children and wants the new generation of villagers to respect and revere the environment.
He believes a mix of climate change, overfishing, coral bleaching and the use of modern fishing nets has led to a reduction in the number of atule harvest at Leone Village in recent years.