Samoan Material Culture
Fishing methods employing narcotizing, spearing, sweeps of coconut leaves, walled traps, and nets made with netting needles and mesh gages are similar in principle in both areas. In Samoa, the purse net with two wings set like a V-shaped weir is common. Trolling for bonito with an unbaited hook with a pearl shell shank attached by a line to a bamboo rod is similar in principle in the two areas but there are variations in the shape of the hook point, the hook lashing and the method of setting the rod. Albacore fishing with a double canoe and a crane which is a marked feature of the Society Islands is not known in Samoa. Fishing with a baited hook from a fast sailing canoe for dolphin is similar in Samoa and Tahiti. In Samoa, the dolphin is known as masimasi and in Tahiti as mahimahi. Apart from the masimasi hook and the poor specimens described, Samoa is devoid of baited hooks. The shark hook was unknown and the method of noosing prevailed in its stead. Deep line fishing was absent and there is no authentic evidence to show that the deep sea Ruvettus was ever caught on a long line with a baited hook. The Samoans were thus surface fishermen. In the east, varieties of baited hooks occur and the shark hook is common. Linton (19, p. 402) records the shark noose in the Marquesas. The method used in Aitutaki, Cook Islands, of diving down and tying a clove hitch round the tail of sharks sleeping with their heads in crevices of the rocks cannot be regarded as a similar noose method. The catching of the Ruvettus has been shown by Nordhoff (22, p. 40) to have been originally confined to certain islands of the eastern area. Tahiti thus resembles Samoa in not having had a knowledge of Ruvettus fishing. Samoa is rich in varieties of fish traps but detailed technique from the various parts of the eastern area is lacking.