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Funae Fishing Skipjack Tuna

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23 October 2009

N1 45.136 E124 31.782 – Rakit

This day was a walk down memory lane. Eight years ago, when we were finalizing our shoot for our book Sulu Sulawesi Seas for WWF, we spent five midnights to mornings with the funae fishermen of Bunaken Island.

Their hard work started when they bought live anchovies in Tanawango in mainland Manado at midnight. When there were no anchovies to buy, they would catch their own live bait. The funae boat has a huge aquarium inside the boat’s main belly to keep the live bait. Later on this belly would be the holding area for their day’s catch.

Ikan dili or anchovies will be thrown into the water boiling with tuna activity
Ikan dili or anchovies will be thrown into the water boiling with tuna activity

Then, before sunrise, they would steam two to three hours to a rakit – a 2 x 2 meter floating pontoon manned by one person, which is a fish attracting devise or FAD, 40 to 60 kilometers away from the mainland in the open ocean. Some rakit would be farther still, you could hardly see Manado Tua on the horizon!

Anchored 1.5 kilometers to the ocean floor, this Rakit has a lonely operator with nothing but deep blue and a radio to keep him company
Anchored 1.5 kilometers to the ocean floor, this Rakit has a lonely operator with nothing but the deep blue and a radio to keep him company
Pump
This man’s job is to light 4 kerosene pump lamps at sunset and make sure it is lit until sunrise.

Out at sea with nothing but the lamps light to illuminate the water, skipjacks gather around the palm fronds at 16 meters.

Quite freaky to dive the abyss. Lucky us the current was not pumping!
Quite freaky to dive the abyss. Lucky us the current was not pumping!

And before sunrise, the funae fishermen will be hard at work fishing!

Not quite sunrise, these fishermen are on their way to another fishing ground
Not quite sunrise, these funae fishermen are on their way to another fishing ground
Funae fishermen in full action after finding skipjack tuna neaar Manado Tua
Funae fishermen in full action after finding skipjack tuna near Manado Tua
Care for a fresh tuna straight from the hook? Where's our wasabe and kikoman when we need it?
Care for a fresh tuna straight from the hook? Where’s our wasabi and Kikkoman when we need it?
When all the bait is gone, the funae fishermen stop fishing and get their fish ready for selling to buyers from Manado auction market
When all the bait is gone, the funae fishermen stop fishing and get their fish ready for selling to buyers from Manado auction market


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Comments


  • http://panda.org Katherine Short

    Hi,
    Thank you for these stunning photographs! As I sit in my office at WWF International in Switzerland, the snow is falling and it’s nearly Christmas. I was looking for a photo illustrating sustainable seafood and found the ANOVA packaging one….BRILLIANT! Thanks! Then I saw the FAD ones, the kid with the crabs, the skipjack fishing and so many more, really, well done, we’ve needed these ‘alive’ photos of fishing and seafood for so long, I’ll do my best to promote their use!
    Happy Christmas All!