Best time to visit French Polynesia

Stone Fishing in French Polynesia 2024

Experience this centuries-old Polynesian tradition of catching fish

Best time: November

The gist of stone fishing is in “herding” fish. Locals beat water surface with heavy stones tied to ropes made of coconut fibre. The frightened fish head towards the shore. Meanwhile, fishermen in canoes drop a net and catch fish in woven baskets or sometimes with spears.

The old fishing technique is still practiced nowadays on the island of Taha'a. A stone fishing tournament is usually set to take place in November. Another small island Maupiti situated near Bora Bora takes part in a traditional stone fishing event once every ten years (the next one will be in 2020). This ancient fishing ritual involves around 200 canoes and all 1200 residents of the island.

Practical info

When is stone fishing in French Polynesia possible?

November is the best time to see stone fishing in French Polynesia since a fishing tournament takes place that showcases the traditional technique in Taha'a. Tourists can plan to visit during the event to witness the practice in action which is organized annually. Show more

What are the islands in French Polynesia that stone fishing is practiced in?

Stone fishing is still practiced in Taha'a and also during Maupiti Island's traditional Stone Fishing event that is held once every 10 years. Those interested can visit Bora-Bora and Tahiti and then travel to Taha'a or Maupiti to witness this unique form of fishing and learn more about the local culture. Show more

What is the method used for stone fishing in French Polynesia?

Stone fishing in French Polynesia is done by beating the water surface with heavy stones connected to ropes made of coconut fibre. This frightens the fish, prompting them to move towards the shore to escape the stones. Fishermen positioned nearby, then use canoes to drop a net or catch fish using woven baskets or spears. It's a time-taking, team-oriented, skillful activity. Show more

Can visitors take part in stone fishing in French Polynesia?

While stone fishing in French Polynesia is a unique cultural tradition, visitors are not allowed to participate. It's crucial to adhere to the local rules, and without a permit, fishing in these waters is illegal. Even the residents need specific authorization to fish beyond certain limits and places. Tourists can, however, witness the process despite being a spectator from a distance. Show more

How often is the traditional stone fishing event held in Maupiti Island?

Maupiti Island, one of French Polynesia's islands, hosts a traditional stone fishing event held every ten years, the most recent being in 2010. Roughly 1200 locals and 200 canoes participate in the ancient ritual. It provides a great opportunity for visitors to witness the traditional technique in action and learn more about the local Polynesian culture. Show more

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