Fish Traps in the British Virgin Islands
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June 13 2009
In the British Virgin Islands,many things are still done old style.  These handmade fish traps incorporate locally grown tree branches and plain old chicken coop wire.  The builder has spent many hours chopping and collecting the sticks, stripping them of their greenery, then using baling wire to fashion a frame from the sticks,  to attach the chicken coop wire. While it's hard to detect in the photos, there is a little tunnel, also made of chicken coop wire for the fish to enter the trap.  

The trap is baited with smaller fish that usually can't figure out how to escape, through the tunnel. The bigger fish come in the trap to eat the smaller fish and generally can't figure out how to get back in the tunnel to swim to freedom. After a few days, a fisherman, who has sunk these traps under the sea, tethered to a small floating  buoy above, will come along , pull the traps up, relieve them of their fish, then rebait and relaunch the traps again.

At dinner that night in the many seaside restaurants, the fresh caught fish will be on tonight's menu.

The only problem, is that if these traps are lost in bad weather, they travel around the ocean, becoming killing machines until they finally rust out.

A seasoned old timer told me:

There was once a big push by Conservation and Fisheries to have the fisherfolk use bio-degradable wire so that if a trap was lost it would eventually stop functioning and trapping fish.  This was about ten to fifteen years ago and some fisherfolk did sign up for it but I don’t know if it’s continuing – I believe Conservation and Fisheries was actually supplying them with the special wire.

From this picture, I can not tell if this is special biodegradable wire, or just the garden variety chicken coop, we can olnly hope for the best , and that the traps never become lost.
fish traps in the british virgin islands harvest the seas for fresh fish and lobster for your dining delight
 
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