Chea's Great Kuarao
The kuarao fishing of the Solomon Islands serves as a powerful linkage between ancestral traditions, customary ownership of the sea, and surplus production for modern cash needs.
This is exemplified in this film about the efforts of Chea villagers in September 1996. The people of Chea village, centrally located in the great Marovo Lagoon of the western Solomon Islands, organize annual communal fishing expeditions called kuarao, in which the entire community takes part. Early in the morning a large cicle of bush vines is laid out in the lagoon waters. As people swim with the vines and drag them along, large numbers of fish caught by surprise inside the gradually narrowing circle are herded together, until finally the thickly packed mass of fish can be stunned with a plant poison.
Chea's Great Kuarao is based on the long-term work of anthropologist Edvard Hviding in the Marovo Lagoon. The film arises from a collaborative project involving SOT Film, the University of Bergen, Bergen Museum, Solomon Islands National Museum, the Western Province of Solomon Islands, and the Marovo Area Council. The assistance of Chea Village Community in the making of this film is greatly acknowledged.