5.4 – Traditional Inspired Fish Trap

Dawul Wuru Aboriginal Corporation Caring for Sea Country 5.4 – Traditional Inspired Fish Trap

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    Ziling Phu


      I just wanted some clarification on how the traditional Yirrganydji fish traps, such as those at Taylor Point, worked to catch fish. The interactive mentions that the fish traps utilised a manually constructed stone wall with a series of stakes driven into the sand to funnel fish. What purpose do the stone wall and stakes have in catching the fish? Would it be that they block the fish from swimming back out to the sea after the tide has gone down, or are they used for some other reason? Additionally, would the Yirrganydji have used the traditionally woven Aboriginal fish trap (https://ewbchallenge.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/DSCF4997-A-traditional-woven-Aboriginal-fish-trapJPG-export-682×1024.jpg) in conjunction with this Yirrganydji fish trap, or would they have speared the fish, or caught the fish with their bare hands etc after the fish have been trapped.

      Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

      Jean Aquinde

        Hi Ziling,

        Yes, youโ€™re right about your hypothesis. This study with a similar concept mentions that Aboriginal stone-walled fish traps were designed to be most effective in enclosing water at mid-tide, which indicates that fishes are funnelled to that space and become trapped.

        Check this specific resource uploaded on the Challenge website: Resources>Information Boards>Yirgganydji Sea Country (scroll to 5th slide), which describes how the Yirgganydji people engage in spearfishing. Woven baskets are likely used with the fish traps as they must be close enough to the shore to retrieve them.

        I hope this helps clarify things for you.


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