Friday 10 February 2023 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Culture, Environment, National, Outer Islands
Takutea, a small uninhabited island just 20 kilometres (13 miles) north west of Atiu, is seldom visited and is lush with seafood and land crab delicacies.
Most times, Takutea is harvested only for large functions or fundraisers.
For the first time, Takutea was harvested according to a plan set by the Atiu Fishing Club (AFC) in coordination with the island government.
It was also the first time Takutea was harvested for each household on Atiu, said Atiu Fishing Club coordinator, Takili Talagi-Tairi.
Another first was a quota set to harvest unga (coconut crab) and paua (clams).
“The idea is to help teach our young generation to learn and not overharvest in the future,” Talagi-Tairi said.
Takutea has been declared a community conserved area under the management and control of the Trustees of Takutea.
Administratively, the island is considered part of Atiu and it is owned equally by all inhabitants of Atiu and not allocated to one specific village or district.
The concept for harvesting Takutea was brought about by people living on Atiu many years ago, said Talagi-Tairi.
Last year, the Island Council and the Aronga Mana invited the Atiu Fishing Club to come up with plans for the harvest, and after a year of discussions they finally reached their goal.
On January 23, people from Atiu went to Takutea for the harvesting. Surrounded by an unbroken reef, access to Takutea is only possible in calm weather and on the leeside of the island.
The men were dropped off near the reef, and everyone helped to carry a small boat all the way to shore.
The group had intended to return to Atiu with the harvest on January 25, but the seas were rough and the small boat ashore could not be launched. With the approval of the Religious Advisory Council, boats were sent out on the Sunday morning to pick up the team on Takutea.
As agreed to by Atiu’s Aronga Mana, Takutea Trust and Island Council members, the quota allowed per household was one litre bowl paua and one coconut crab per household. However there was no limit for the crayfish and fish which were distributed equally. The harvest was distributed by the council members and akaaere tapere.
Talagi-Tairi said: “We (AFC) hope that the quota we have set will be followed in the future.”