The Triton Shell on Fiji Friday
When we holidayed earlier this year in Fiji, we spent a few nights on the Island of Kuata in the Yasawas, a string of beautiful Volcanic islands. One morning we went snorkelling off the back side of the island with the guide, Berry. It was a little overcast and there wasn't a great deal of interesting aqua-life to see. Suddenly, Berry darted away from us, swimming fast towards the ocean floor as we watched, intrigued.
From inside our murky snorkel-masks, we could just make out Berry picking up something quite large from off of the reef. When he eventually bobbed back up at the surface, we swam over to join him and to admire his catch - a huge triton shell. I asked Berry what he was going to do with it. He told me he would remove the meat and sell it to the Chinese for a substantial Fijian $25 return. A day later, in a less touristy spot on the island, we spied evidence that the shell had been cooked and the meat removed although I couldn't find any more information about how it is actually eaten.
As we were leaving the island we found out that it is actually illegal to fish the Triton in Fiji, not so much because of the scarcity of the shells, but because they are predators of the reviled Crown of Thorns starfish. According to some sources, this law is outdated and never acted upon. It has been said: "To ban the possession of Davui is a little unrealistic in a society where these shells have longstanding traditional significance:- if this regulation were enforced it would probably put every member of Parliament in jail."
Previously on Fiji Fridays:
Nature's Communal Oven | Nama Sea Grapes |
|Archive Alert! On this date in 2004: Of all the food photo's I've taken, this is my favourite, bar none.|
Food | Fiji | Kuata | Shells Forbidden Food