Mixed feelings

We’ve now spent three weeks here and our experiences are a bit mixed. We were very happy to find about 50 nesting couples of brown boobies (more than anywhere else in the Tuamotus, which is a sad fact by itself) and a few endemic sandpipers. Most of the little motus in the biosphere only have shrubs and some trees, but on a few coconut trees were planted at some point and we found some signs of people doing copra there: some burnt patches and plastic rubbish left behind…

During our visit to the village we got a wonderfully hospitable reception and we had the feeling that the people were on a very friendly basis with the local wildlife: a tame turtle approached us in the small-boat harbour, two nurse-sharks begged for food together with her and crested terns hopped around us, also expecting some fish bits. However, when we snorkeled the pass, we were first enchanted by the healthy coral, but then we found turtles and reef sharks in the fish traps the locals have set up on both sides of the pass. Fish traps are never great for an eco-system, because the fish are speared out of there in big numbers (usually to export them to Tahiti) and it seems doubtful whether that’s sustainable. The locals assured us that turtles and sharks are just bycatch and get released, but then, why would they build the traps with such wide entrances in the first?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.