Traditional Atule Fishing
In some years, atule (akule) are the most abundant fish species caught in local subsistence and recreational catches. Information about the life cycle of this species (also known as the bigeye scad, Selar crumenophthalmus ) is sparse. We know only that atule appear in some years and usually at specific coastal locations. They may reside temporarily on a reef-flat for a few months and migrate offshore each night to feed on plankton and small fish.
Atule are thought to be a fast-growing, short-lived species that reaches 12 inches in length. Local catches of fish 6-10 inches in length consist of both juveniles and larger fish that appear to be potential spawners. On Tutuila Island, there’s a legend about the atule that appear in Fagasa Bay.
Liava’a, however, never gave up his search for Sina and years later they were briefly reunited. Tradition holds that, upon the death of Liava’a and Sina, their memories were forever preserved in special stones that are protected to this day by HC Lilio who is responsible for all events related to the atule harvest, thereby preserving the village’s continuing appreciation for the generous gift of these fish. The tradition continues. When atule arrive in Fagasa, an ava ceremony is held in appreciation for this bounty. The stones are cleaned and when the time is right, the villagers carry coconut fronds into the water to herd the fish into the shallows where they are collected in enu baskets which are emptied into the ola basket.