I read in tribewanted that sea turtles have been caught as part of the hospitality for the visitors to Labasa for the Methodist Conference. The eco-friendly tribewanted members are dismayed by the sight of the turtles waiting and dying. There is an awkwardness about hospitality and conservation. As conference guests will be hosted in Mali there is a need for generosity, for giving of the best of the land and sea. On the other hand many people, especially Greenies like me, would rather eat vegetables. I phoned Naukisi at Vatuadova this morning (where Peceli is staying) and was surprised that the answer came from Nakauwaqa in Mali as the phone number had trasferred across to the island. Naukisi was busy this morning preparing her village house for guests. I did not ask her about the turtles then as I had not read the tribewanted story at that stage. Her husband is an expert in catching turtles - for ceremonial use, not for the market.
I have eaten turtle meat, but would not these days. Just as I won't eat meat at Fiji festivals and rites of passage.
From tribewanted chief’s blog link
Moral Dilemma: Sea Turtles suffering before traditional ceremony
With the upcoming methodist conference in Mali this week, several (7 on last count) large green sea turtles have been caught by the villages with Tui Mali’s permission to celebrate the event.
We visited Nakawaga on Wednesday to present a lovo to Mali for the event, to wish them well. The caught turtles are left unfed and without water lying on their backs for the days leading up to when they will be killed. The sight of these old creatures slowly dying upset many tribe members and showed the contrast between the local and global cultures.
Traditionally a BI is built – a pen – on the edge of the sea where the turtles live in and out of the water until they are needed. We asked Ulai why a BI has not been built in Nakawaga, and he said its probably just lack of time and resources. We asked if we approached Tui Mali if the tribe could build a BI for the turtles until the village need them. We really just want to talk with Tui Mali and the Mali people about the situation and if a BI is something we can help with then we will.