Ron Laguana Jr. a "Magas I Tasi" with his pelagic fish.
"Peskadot" is a Chamoru linguistic term which translates to 'He who stalks and hunts the sacred resources of the Pacific Peoples''. Ceremonial rituals, prayers, and chants honoring the ancestoral spirits or 'aniti' are performed prior to harvesting the denizens of the deep. Only a few mature sea creatures are culled leaving behind many schools to rejuvinate the fish population.
Chamoru males, prior to the 1700's were Mariners and Star Navigators who voyage the Pacific utilizing the "Flying Proa" canoes which were hydrodynamically swifter than the Spanish Galleons. They were also Ocean Divers whose catches were large fish from the deep. The Spanish, in order to control the population of warriors "Magas I Tasi" whom they had battled in the 1600's, forbade Seafaring and destroyed the canoes. Hence, the art of Ocean navigation and deep sea spearing was lost but young Chamorus are making the effort to revived or invent the culture today. In the days of old, spears were the tools of choice. Metal Tridents or 'fisga' were assumed to be of Spanish import and were unbalanced when launched by hand.
The Sinahi Archipelago (Marianas Islands) sealife are slowly being depleted by fleets of foreign fishing seiners entering Micronesia according to marine specialists. Sustainability can be learned by emulating the ways of the Chamoru Sea Warrior. Nurturing the viability and abundance of fish habitats, is the legacy of the Chamoru "Peskadot" stewardship over the sea reserves.
Guam's black deep ocean waters (of the Mariana Trench where no light could penetrate) are sacred fishing grounds for the Chamoru Sea Warriors of the Marianas. This page is dedicated to those who are intrigued by visions of Guahan's potential ocean resources when managed traditionally by Chamoru mariners.
These fishing grounds are home to over 700 species of marine sea life which are edible by the Marianas Islanders. Fish of variety, shapes, colors and sizes are taken in moderation without waste for the villagers' consumption.
|"Free Diving" without the use of
self-contained underwater breathing
apparatus or SCUBA is the chosen
method for capturing these creatures.
The warriors prefer spearing during
the daylight hours to accord respect
and allow fair game for these creatures
in their own natural environment.
Night time spearing is refrained since the fish lie helplessly asleep. This old taboo relates to the avoidance of anitis (spirits) who are active at night (ref. legend of Gapang). It enforces the moral code of not striking a sleeping target.
right: Wahoo speared at tail.
Depths of approximately 60 to 100 feet are ideal to seeking most of the treasured reef delicacies. Pelagic fish as tuna, barricuda, and wahoo are also major targets being speared in deeper black waters.
Crustaceans are commonly served on
Chamoru household dinner tables.
Grab a deep breath and view the
underwater catches of a Chamoru
Large and abundant catches are freely shared among friends, family and neighbors.
"Mane'lu-hu, Manaina-hu, humahanao este huyong para todu i mampeskadot gi entereru i islas Pasifiku."
Free Diving in the cold pelagic waters where virtually no human interlopers enter.
A medium size Maori Wrasse speared at Rota in turbulent crosscurrents. The treacherous traditional fishing ground is not shown and avoided by humans. Only one fish of average size is taken for consumption - many larger and smaller ones are left alone.
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