Sing to the Fish

Heres a program from our archives.When the Mandarese fishermen of Indonesia go out after flying fish, they don’t just rely on their traps. They try to summon the fish into coming along voluntarily. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.Ambience, singing. Zerner: Mandarese fishermen had an extremely unusual way of capturing of flying fish. They not only had bamboo traps called “buaro” but they also had a system of calls that they deployed, as much as we might deploy bait or fishing hooks to capture the fish. In other words, the calls, sounds, were conceived as indispensable as are the traps when they capture these wonderful little flying fish that skim over the surface of the Makassar Straits.Charles Zerner is a Fulbright scholar in environmental law who studied the fishing practices of the Mandarese. Zerner: These sounds that you’re hearing right now are the other guys on the boat, calling to the flying fish, using some of these calls, called ‘elongi’ which simply means to call. Every now and then you’ll just hear the captain shouting to the flying fish saying ‘hey rasha, bang on your ancestral drum, enter the traps, like a traffic jam.’They address it as if it were a noble or as if it w were a spirit. They never call it flying fish when they’re on the ocean. To use its ordinary name would be less than respectful. And to be successful with a flying fish, you’ve got to use respect.Do you hear him now? He’s talking to the fish, “oh Rajah, come on over here, lord. Enter your old ancestral drum.” This archival program is part of our thirtieth anniversary celebration. If you want hear more, check out our podcast. Im Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Sing to the Fish

Mandarese fishermen sing to their prey.
Air Date:09/05/2018
Scientist:
Transcript:

Heres a program from our archives.When the Mandarese fishermen of Indonesia go out after flying fish, they don't just rely on their traps. They try to summon the fish into coming along voluntarily. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.Ambience, singing. Zerner: Mandarese fishermen had an extremely unusual way of capturing of flying fish. They not only had bamboo traps called "buaro" but they also had a system of calls that they deployed, as much as we might deploy bait or fishing hooks to capture the fish. In other words, the calls, sounds, were conceived as indispensable as are the traps when they capture these wonderful little flying fish that skim over the surface of the Makassar Straits.Charles Zerner is a Fulbright scholar in environmental law who studied the fishing practices of the Mandarese. Zerner: These sounds that you're hearing right now are the other guys on the boat, calling to the flying fish, using some of these calls, called 'elongi' which simply means to call. Every now and then you'll just hear the captain shouting to the flying fish saying 'hey rasha, bang on your ancestral drum, enter the traps, like a traffic jam.'They address it as if it were a noble or as if it w were a spirit. They never call it flying fish when they're on the ocean. To use its ordinary name would be less than respectful. And to be successful with a flying fish, you've got to use respect.Do you hear him now? He's talking to the fish, "oh Rajah, come on over here, lord. Enter your old ancestral drum." This archival program is part of our thirtieth anniversary celebration. If you want hear more, check out our podcast. Im Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.