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Native Use of Fish in Hawaii

By Margaret Titcomb

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Book Id: WPLBN0002096944
Format Type: PDF eBook:
File Size: 21.86 MB
Reproduction Date: 8/9/2011

Title: Native Use of Fish in Hawaii  
Author: Margaret Titcomb
Language: English
Subject: Non Fiction, Science, Hawaiian Culture, Fishing
Collections: Education, Science Fiction Collection, Authors Community, Recreation, Sociology, Geography, Biology, Naval Science, Military Science, Literature, Most Popular Books in China
Publication Date:
Publisher: Hawaii University Press
Member Page: Hale Kuamoʻo Hawaiian Language Center


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Titcomb, B. M. (1972). Native Use of Fish in Hawaii. Retrieved from

Twenty years ago when Margaret Titcomb was finishing her manuscript for this book there was little concern that the oceans of the earth might be endangered. Without doubt contamination of the seas was occurring, but there was no real public awarenessno sense of threat. A deleterious mercury content had not yet been detected in the great billfish and tunas. There were fewer oil despoliations, and the dumping of chemicals and radioactive wastes had not yet reached a level which would, in the next two decades, cause great submarine areas to be laid waste. Nor had commercial fisheries yet developed their omnivorous technical expertise to efficiency levels which, unless curbed, could wipe out whole species. There was another difference. Then, there were “a few Hawaiian fishermen still living who were trained in the Hawaiian knowledge” (p. 54), and who could supplement the prodigious fund of information of Mary Kawena Pukui, with whose collaboration this book was written. Now, as the Hawaiian fishermen pass from the scene, there goes with them much of the ancient lore of the sea. There is today an encouraging awareness on the part of scientists and the public at largeeven among public officialsin respect to our threatened and diminishing resources. And it is to be hoped that this general awareness will be translated into restoration measures and programs. Perhaps contributions of the kind provided by this work can be a positive influence. That it might well be would please its author, for she has long been an ardent conservationist. But there is another reason for welcoming the renewed availability of this book. It is packed with information. And it will please both those primarily interested in fish and those devoted to learning about ancient Hawaiian culture.

FISH, including shellfish, were the main protein-giving elements of the Hawaiian diet. Pig, dog, chicken and wild birds furnished some additional proteins but the comparatively small supply marked them more for the chiefs than the commoners use. Daily life was one of fishing and cultivating the plantations. Fishing required a search of the sea, from the areas within the reefs to the sea scarcely within sight of land. By salting, drying, impounding, the supply was made somewhat independent of weather conditions. Care was taken to avoid waste.


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