Tuesday, 13 August 2013


After a couple of days of this style of fishing in forty degree heat and 98 percent humidity, we finally get some days in, of what we really came for - casting lures.   The scenery was spectacular, and we were casting on reef sections and drop offs that you were certain should hold awesome fish, unfortunately the fishing didn’t quite live up to the anticipation. 

 There are no size or bag limits there and it seemed that most of the fish in close on these amazing reefs have been hit pretty hard,  these islanders live for today and not for the future as is (usually) the western mindset.   A lot of the fish that were kept really should have gone back to allow the species to grow, breed and be a sustainable food source.

I don’t blame or hold it against them,  everyday is a struggle just for survival here and the villagers we met were pretty lucky to have the fishing lodge on the island as it created an income for some and brought resources to the island that they may not have had access to otherwise.

   Now I’m not saying it’s all rosy and truth be told, I think the lodge does a lot better than what is being put back into the community.  But it’s a start and the more contact these people, especially the young ones, have with the right westerners, the better their future is looking.   They are stuck between two worlds at the minute, the ways of old where subsistence living off the land and catching a few fish was enough, and the modern world that is rapidly integrating itself into their everyday life.  

 The days of taking over their parents’ plot of land and providing for themselves without a thought for the outside world are gone, in much of the western province at least.   They will need a new direction to secure a good future for themselves and future generations.  The young ones we met really didn’t have much of an idea about what was happening in the outside world, why would they? Yet they nearly all had a mobile phone!

  I worry about the future of this remarkable and beautiful chain of islands called the Solomon’s,  the Chinese already own most of the businesses in the capital city and they are tuna fishing there with no regard or thought for the future food source of these people,  and who can blame them? 

The islanders themselves don’t seem to realize the potential impact this will have on their future generations and I see tourism being the only way forward.  I just hope it is done with best intent and regard for the natural environment and it’s people, sadly I believe that this is mere wishful thinking.

Some of the islands are already being logged and this has more than one flow on effect.   Some of these villages are now having to buy timber to build houses etc, something that has always been a free and abundant resource.   When the monsoonal rains hit the islands that have logged clearings, it can wash the dirt and mud straight into the lagoon which kills the coral.  

 The coral, the lagoons, the natural wonders and beauty of the place are the archipelago’s true greatest resources and if looked after properly and guided with the right vision could secure a great future for all it’s people.

 I’m probably getting a little sidetracked now and am not here to get political, but I just fell so in love with the people and the natural beauty that it pains me greatly to see all this happening and nobody educating them towards a sustainable future.  Sure, there are plenty of volunteers willing to exploit their resources but they don’t give a shit about the future of this country.   Perhaps even Australia needs to look at the roles of the NGO’s and what they are actually achieving over there.  

We did our best to try and change some of their habits in regards to fishing and actually managed to release a few fish, much to the dismay and astonishment of one of our skippers!   We realize they need to eat, but they needed to realize that you can’t kill every fish, every time.   It’s not sustainable.   One of the young guys we met at the next lodge gave us great hope, he has plans for an eco friendly catch and release fishery when he can get enough money to get something off the ground.

He already has the land from his parents but is working towards his goal, his dream of a fishing lodge that in all honesty, really has the potential to shape the future of tourism in his country.  People pay huge dollars to go and catch fish in exotic locations, and then let them go!  Its sport fishing and if their stocks are looked after, could be the way of the future, a prosperous future for the next generation of Solomon Islander’s.   I really hope to get back there and see how it’s all going for him, I couldn’t hope more for a young guy to achieve and realize his dream.

Back to the fishing and the story…