Advertisement

Human Ecology

, Volume 46, Issue 5, pp 717–726 | Cite as

Sea Swallowers and Land Devourers: Can Shark Lore Facilitate Conservation?

  • Frédéric TorrenteEmail author
  • Tamatoa Bambridge
  • Serge Planes
  • Jean Guiart
  • Eric G. Clua
Article

Abstract

Polynesians’ detailed observations of shark behaviour encompass the notion of a divinity, the fleeting image of a sky god, as well as potential source of food and valued tools. Due to prevailing cosmogony, sharks benefited from being a taboo species, historically limiting their exploitation. We examine how the reputedly fierce warriors of ‘Anaa (an atoll in Tuamotu archipelago, French Polynesia) came to be symbolically identified with a marine predator, being called “Parata,” the vernacular name of the oceanic whitetip shark Carcharinus longimanus. Both sharks and indigenous cultures are currently under threat in the East Pacific and we propose that an understanding of these sacred relationships could be used to help protect them.

Keywords

Pacific Ocean cultures Tuamotu archipelago Polynesian religion Oceanic whitetip shark (Carcharhinus longimanus) Zoomorphism Traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This study has benefitted from the kind support of the cultural association of Putahi-haga-no-Ganā, in particular Joana, Teuanui and Maxime Hauata, Léonie Gatata and Rosalie Aumeran and the council of ancients of ‘Anaa atoll.

References

  1. Adams, H. (1964). Mémoires d’Arii Taimai, Musée de l’homme, Paris.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Allen, J., & White, J. P. (1989). « The Lapita homeland: some new data and an interpretation ». The Journal of the Polynesian Society, vol. 98, N°2, pp.129–146.Google Scholar
  3. Babadzan A. (1993). Les dépouilles des dieux. Essai sur la religion tahitienne à l’époque de la découverte. Ed. de la Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, Paris.Google Scholar
  4. Barber, D. (1992). Of Tourism and Tradition. Pacific Islands Monthly 62: 19.Google Scholar
  5. Bataille-Benguigui, M.C. (1996). « L’homme et le poisson ou l’imperceptible des relations homme-animal » in Mémoires de Pierre, Mémoires d’Hommes, Tradition et Archéologie en Océanie, Hommage à José Garanger, sous la direction de M. Julien et al., Collection « Homme et Société », n°23, publications de la Sorbonne, Paris, pp. 415–429.Google Scholar
  6. Bataille-Benguigui M.C. (2003). Le requin en Océanie. De la perception mentale à l'objet. In: Babadzan A. (ed) "Insularités. Hommage à Henri Lavondès". Société d'ethnologie: Nanterre, France, 270p.Google Scholar
  7. Baum, J.K., and Myers, R.A. (2004). "Shifting baselines and the decline of pelagic sharks in the Gulf of Mexico". Ecology Letters, 7(2), 135–145.Google Scholar
  8. Beechey, Frederick W. (1831). Narrative of a Voyage to the Pacific and Beering’s Strait, vol. 1. New York: Da Capo Press.Google Scholar
  9. Best, E. (1924). The Maori as he was: a brief account of Maori life as it was in pre-European days, Government Printer, South Africa.Google Scholar
  10. Best, E. (1982). Maori Religion and Mythology. Wellington Government Printer.Google Scholar
  11. Bouge (1928). “Requins des Marquises” Bulletin de la Société des Etudes Océaniennes, n°27, octobre 1928, pp. 138–141.Google Scholar
  12. Bowden, R. (1984). Maori cannibalism: An interpretation. Oceania 55(2): 81–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Bullis, H. R. Jr. (1961). « Observations on the Feeding Behavior of White-Tip Sharks on Schooling Fishes ». Ecology. Vol. 42: 194–195.Google Scholar
  14. Caillot, A. C. E. (1914). Mythes, Légendes et Traditions des Polynésiens, E, Leroux, Paris.Google Scholar
  15. Caillot, A. C. E. (1932). Histoire des Religions de l’archipel Paumotu, Ernest Leroux, Paris.Google Scholar
  16. Camus G. 2014. Tabiteuea, Kiribati. Ed. Hazan, Fondation culturelle Musée Barbier Mueller, Paris.Google Scholar
  17. Christian, F.W. (1895). “Notes on the Marquesans”. The Journal of Polynésian Society, vol.4, n°3, pp.187–202.Google Scholar
  18. Clarke, S. C., Harley, S. J., Hoyle, S. D., and Rice, J. S. (2013). Population trends in Pacific Oceanic sharks and the utility of regulations on shark finning. Conservation Biology 27(1): 197–209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Clua E. and J. Guiart (2015). Requins d’Océanie . Ethno-écologie d’un prédateur marin. Ed. Te Pito o te Fenua, Papeete.Google Scholar
  20. Clua, E., Chauvet, C., Read, T., Werry, J. M., and Lee, S. Y. (2013). Behavioural patterns of a tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier) feeding aggregation at a blue whale carcass in Prony Bay, New Caledonia. Marine and freshwater behaviour and physiology 46(1): 1–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Clua, E., Galves, J. B., and Werry, J. M. (2014). Insight into cumulative intra-guild and intra-specific depredation among sharks. Cybium 38(4): 311–313.Google Scholar
  22. Codrington, R.H. (1891). The Melanesians. Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore. Google Scholar
  23. Compagno, L. J. V. (1984). «Shark of the World. An Annotated and Illustrated Catalogue of Shark Species Known to Date: Part 2. Carcharhiniformes», FAO Fisheries Synopsis 125, Vol. 4. Part 2: 251–655.Google Scholar
  24. Compagno, L.J.V. (2001) FAO Species Catalogue for Fishery Purposes. No. 1, Vol. 2. Rome, FAO. Sharks of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Volume 2. Bullhead, mackerel and carpet sharks (Heterodontiformes, Lamniformes and Orectolobiformes). 269p.Google Scholar
  25. Conte E. (1985). “Recherches ethno-archéologiques sur l’exploitation du milieu marin à Napuka (Tuamotu)”. In : Journal de la Société des Océanistes, n°80, tome 41, pp. 51–56.Google Scholar
  26. Conte E. (1987) “Pêche ancienne au requin à Napuka (Tuamotu)”. In : Bulletin de la Société des Etudes Océaniennes, n°238, tome 20, Papeete, pp. 13–29.Google Scholar
  27. Conte E. and K.J. Dennison (2009). Te Tahata. Etude d’un marae de Tepoto, Archipel des Tuamotu, Polynésie française. Cahiers du CIRAP, n°1, Polypress, Tahiti.Google Scholar
  28. Cook J. and J. King (1784). A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean undertaken by the command of his Majesty, … in the years 1776–1779. G. Nicol ed. London. 3 vol.Google Scholar
  29. Crook, W. P. (2007). An account of Marquesans Islands, 1797–1799, Haere Po, Papeete.Google Scholar
  30. D’Arcy, P. (2006). The People of the Sea. Environment, Identity and History in Oceania. University of Hawaii Press.Google Scholar
  31. De Castro, V. E. (1998). «Cosmological deixis and Amerindian Perspectivism» in Journal of Royal Anthropology Institute, vol.4, n° 3, pp. 469–488.Google Scholar
  32. Dening, G. (1982). “Sharks that walk on the land: The death of Captain Cook”. Meanjin, 41(4), p.427.Google Scholar
  33. Descola P. (2005). Par delà nature et culture. Ed. Gallimard, Paris.Google Scholar
  34. Descola P. (2011) L’écologie des autres. L’anthropologie et la question de la nature. Ed. Quae, Versailles.Google Scholar
  35. Drew, J. A. (2005). Use of traditional ecological knowledge in marine conservation. Conservation biology 19(4): 1286–1293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Drew, J. A., and Henne, A. P. (2006). Conservation biology and traditional ecological knowledge: integrating academic disciplines for better conservation practice. Ecology and Society 11(2).Google Scholar
  37. Drew, J., Philipp, C., and Westneat, M. W. (2013). Shark tooth weapons from the 19th century reflect shifting base lines in Central Pacific predator assemblies. PLOS One 8(4): e59855.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Dunis, S. (2009). Pacific Mythology, thy name is woman, Haere Po, Papeete.Google Scholar
  39. Dunis, S. (2016). L’île aux femmes, Bibliothèque de l’Anthropologie, CNRS Editions, Paris.Google Scholar
  40. Ellis, F. W. (1818). Replies to Seventeen Questions, Proposed by the Government of Fort St. In George, Relative to Mírasí Right: With Two Appendices, Government Gazette Office, Elucidatory of the Subject. Printed at the.Google Scholar
  41. Ellis W. (1972). A la recherche de la Polynésie d’autrefois. 2 Vol., Société des Océanistes, Paris.Google Scholar
  42. Emory K.P. (1947). Tuamotuan religious structures and ceremonies. B.P. Bishop Museum bulletin n°191. Honolulu.Google Scholar
  43. Emory K.P. (1975). Material Culture of the Tuamotuan Archipelago. Pacific Anthropological Records, n°22, Department of Anthropology, B.P. Bishop Museum, Honolulu.Google Scholar
  44. Emory, K. P., and Ottino, P. (1967). Histoire ancienne de 'Ana'a, atoll des Tuamotu. Journal de la Société des Oceanistes 23(23): 29–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Firth, R. (1931). Totemism in Polynesia. Atua and Marine Creatures. Oceania 1(4): 377–398.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Firth, R. (1967). « Sea Creatures and Spirits in Tikopia Beliefs », in : Polynesian culture History, Essays in honor of Kenneth P. Emory. Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, special publication n° 53, Honolulu, pp. 539–564.Google Scholar
  47. Firth, R. (1970). Reflections on Tikopia totemism, Oceania, vol. 40, n°4, pp. 280–295.Google Scholar
  48. Firth, R. (1981). « Figuration and symbolism in Tikopia fishing and fish use », in Journal de la Société des Océanistes, n°72–73, Tome 37, pp.219–226.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Fornander A. (1916). Collection of Hawaiian Antiquities and Folklore. Vol.1, B.P. Bishop Museum, Honolulu.Google Scholar
  50. Fornander A. (1920). Collection of Hawaiian Antiquities and Folklore. Vol.3, B.P. Bishop Museum, Honolulu.Google Scholar
  51. Gallagher, A. J., Romeiro, J., Canabal, D., Canabal, V., and Hammerschlag, N. (2014). Novel social behaviors in a threatened apex marine predator, the oceanic whitetip shark Carcharhinus longimanus. Ethology Ecology & Evolution 26(4): 413–417.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Gudger E.W. (1927). Wooden hooks used for Catching Sharks and Ruvettus In the South Seas. A study of their variation and distribution. Anthropological Papers of American Museum of Natural History, Vol 28, part 3, New York.Google Scholar
  53. Guiart, J. (1956). Grands et petits hommes de la montagne, Espiritu Santo (Nouvelles-Hébrides).Google Scholar
  54. Guiart, J. (2016). Chieftainship in South Melanesia. 2 vol. Ed. Te Pito o te Fenua, Papeete et Noumea.Google Scholar
  55. Handy E.S.C. (1930). History and Culture in the Society Islands. Bernice P. Bishop Museum Bulletin n°34, Honolulu.Google Scholar
  56. Henry T. (1928). Ancient Tahiti. B.P. Bishop Museum, bulletin 48, Honolulu.Google Scholar
  57. Hviding E. (2003). “Both Sides of the Beach: Knowledges of nature in Oceania”. In: H. Selin (éd.), Nature Across Cultures: Views of Nature and the Environment in Non-Western Cultures, Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp. 245-275Google Scholar
  58. Ingold, T. (1989). An anthropology looks at Biology, in Man, n°25, pp. 208–229.Google Scholar
  59. Ingold T., (2012). "Culture, Nature and Environnement". Tracés. Revue des Sciences Humaines, n°22, pp.169–187.Google Scholar
  60. Johannes, R. E. (1981). The words of the Lagoon, University of California Press, Fishing and marine lore in the Palau district of Micronesia.Google Scholar
  61. Kellett, A. (2013). Combat motivation: The behaviour of soldiers in battle. Springer Science & Business Media.Google Scholar
  62. Kirch, P. V. (2000). On the Road of the Winds, University of California Press, An archaeological History of the Pacific Islands Before European Contact.Google Scholar
  63. Kirch, P. V. (2010). How Chiefs Became Kings, University of California Press, Divine kingship and the rise of archaic states inancient Hawaii.Google Scholar
  64. Kirch, P. V. (2012). A shark going inland is my chief, University of California Press, The island civilization of ancient Hawai’i.Google Scholar
  65. Leenhardt, M. (1930). Notes d'ethnologie néo-calédonienne. In Travaux et Mémoires de l’Institut d’Etnologie, tome 8, Université de, Paris.Google Scholar
  66. Leenhardt, M. (1947). Do Kamo: la personne et le mythe dans le monde Melanesien. Ed. Gallimard, Paris.Google Scholar
  67. Leslie, H. (2007). A fishy romance: Chiefly power and the geopolitics of desire. The Contemporary Pacific, pp.: 365–408.Google Scholar
  68. Lesson R.P. (1831). Atlas Duperrey. Voyage de la Coquille.Google Scholar
  69. Leverd, A. (1910). The Paumotu Version of the Story of Rata. J. of Pol. Soc.: 176–185.Google Scholar
  70. Lucett E. (1851). Rovings in the Pacific from 1837 to 1849… 2 Vol., Longman, Green and Longmans éd., London.Google Scholar
  71. Luomala K. (1985). Sharks and Shark Fishing in the Culture of Gilbert Islands, Micronesia. In : The Fishing Culture of the World: Studies in Ethnology, Cultural Ecology and Folklore, ed. by B. Gunda, vol.2, pp.1203–1125. Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest.Google Scholar
  72. Moerenhout, J.A. (1837). Voyages aux îles du Grand océan... Ed. A. Bertrand, 2 volumes. Paris.Google Scholar
  73. Montiton, A. (1878). “Les Paumotu”. Les Missions Catholiques. Bureau des Missions catholiques, Lyon, vol.6, pp. 339, 342-344.Google Scholar
  74. Nolet, E. (2006). “L’organisation socio-politique des Tuamotu durant la dernière période pré-européenne: élements deapproche critique et comparative” Thèse de doctorat Préhistoire, Anthropologie, Université de Paris I, Panthéon-Sorbonne.Google Scholar
  75. Oliver, D. L. (1975). Ancient Tahitian Society. The University Press of Hawaii, Honolulu, 3 vol.Google Scholar
  76. Orbell, M. (1996). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Mâori Myth and Legend, Canterbury University Press, New Zealand.Google Scholar
  77. Ottino, P. (1965). Ethnohistoire de Rangiroa. Manuscrit dactylographié, Centre ORSTOM, Papeete.Google Scholar
  78. Poisson, F. (2007). Compilation of information on blue shark (Prionace glauca), silky shark (Carcharhinus falciformis), oceanic white tip shark (Carcharhinus longimanus), scalloped hammerhead (Sphyrna lewini) and short fin mako (Isurus oxyrinchus) in the Indian Ocean. In Third Session of the IOTC Working Party on Ecosystems and Bycatch, July 11-13 2007, Victoria, Seychelles.Google Scholar
  79. Polidoro, B. A., Elfes, C. T., Sanciangco, J. C., Pippard, H., & Carpenter, K. E. (2011). Conservation status of marine biodiversity in oceania: an analysis of marine species on the IUCN red list of threatened species. Journal of Marine Biology, 2011.Google Scholar
  80. Porter, D. (1814). Nuku Hiva 1813-1814. Le Journal d'un corsaire américain aux îles Marquises. Traduction française. Haere po, Tahiti, 2014.Google Scholar
  81. Randall, J. E. (2010). Shore fishes of Hawai'i, University of Hawaii Press.Google Scholar
  82. Rigo, B. (2010). L’altérité Polynésienne, CNRS Editions, Paris.Google Scholar
  83. Saura, B. (2013). Mythes et Usages des mythes. Autochtonie et idéologie de la Terre Mère en Polynésie. Peeters Ed., ParisGoogle Scholar
  84. Seki, T., Taniuchi, T., Nakano, H., & Shimizu, M. (1998). « Age, growth and reproduction of the oceanic whitetip shark [Carcharhinus longimanus] from the Pacific Ocean ». Fisheries Science (Japan).Google Scholar
  85. Smith, S. P., (1903). Niuē island, and its people. Part IV. The Journal of the Polynesian Society, 12(1) (45), 1-21.Google Scholar
  86. Stimson, J.F., (1933). Tuamotuan Religion. B.P. Bishop Museum bulletin n°103, Honolulu.Google Scholar
  87. Stimson, J.F., (1937). Tuamotuan Legends (Island of Anaa) : The Demi-gods. B.P. Bishop Museum bulletin n°148, Honolulu.Google Scholar
  88. Stimson, J. F., and Marshall, D. S. (1964). A Dictionary of Some Tuamotuan Dialects of the Polyensian Language. The Peabody Museum of Salem, Massachussets and H, Koninkjijk Instituut, The Hague.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Strasburg, D. W. (1958). Distribution, abundance and habits of pelagic sharks in the central Pacific Ocean. US Fish. Wildl. Serv. Fish. Bull. 58: 335–361.Google Scholar
  90. Te-Arapo (Pouira Teauna), (1997). Parau nô te ‘âi’a. Transcription des émissions radiophoniques sur Radio Tahiti, 1954. Service de la Culture et du Patrimoine de Polynésie française. Papeete.Google Scholar
  91. Torrente, F., (2003). La société insulaire de Meetia. Contribution à l’ethnohistoire des Iles de la Société. Mémoire de D.E.A., Université de la Polynésie française.Google Scholar
  92. Torrente, F., (2010). Ethnohistoire de ‘Anaa, atoll des Tuamotu. PhD thesis. University of French Polynesia, december 2010.Google Scholar
  93. Torrente, F., (2012). Buveurs de Mers, Mangeurs de Terres (Inu tai, Kai henua) : Histoire des guerriers de ‘Anaa, atoll des Tuamotu. Te Pito o te Fenua, Papeete. 397 p.Google Scholar
  94. Torrente, F., (2015). « Ancestral fishing techniques and rites on ‘Anaa atoll, Tuamotu islands, French Polynesia », in Traditional Marine Ressource Management and Knowledge, Information bulletin n° 35, pp. 18–25.Google Scholar
  95. Tregear, E. (1891). The Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary, Lyon and Blair, Wellington.Google Scholar
  96. Tyerman D. & G. Bennet (Rev.), (1831). Journal of Voyages and Travels by the Rev. Daniel Tyerman and George Bennet, deputed from the London Missionary Society to visit their various stations in the South Seas islands between 1821 and 1829. Compiled by James Montgomery. F. Westley and A.H. Davies, 2 vol., London.Google Scholar
  97. Valeri, V. (1985). Kingship and Sacrifice, The University of Chicago Press, Ritual and Society in Ancient Hawaii.Google Scholar
  98. Von den Steinen, K., (1898). Reise nach den Marquesas-Inseln. na.Google Scholar
  99. Williamson, R. W. (1937). Religion and Social Organization in Central Polynesia, The Cambridge University Press, Edited by Ralph Piddington.Google Scholar
  100. Williamson, R. W. (1924). Social and Political Systems of Central Polynesia. Vol.1. Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  101. Williamson, R. W., and Firth, R. (1924). The Social and Political Systems of Central Polynesia, Cambridge University Press, London, New York.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre de Recherches Insulaires et Observatoire de l’Environnement (CRIOBE)USR3278 EPHE-CNRS-UPVDPapetoaiFrench Polynesia
  2. 2.Maison des Sciences de l’Homme du PacifiqueUSR2003 CNRS- Université de la Polynésie françaiseFaaaFrench Polynesia
  3. 3.Labex CORAIL, Laboratoire d’ExcellenceCRIOBE Moorea and PerpignanMooreaFrench Polynesia
  4. 4.Department of EthnologyNational Museum of Natural HistoryParisFrance

Personalised recommendations