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Te Pito Te Henua, or Easter Island, by William J. Thompson, [1891], at


Fish has always been the principal means of support for the islanders, and the natives are exceedingly expert in the various methods of capturing them. The bonito, albicore, ray, dolphin, and porpoise are the off shore fish most highly esteemed, but the swordfish and shark are also eaten. Rock-fish are caught in abundance and are remarkably sweet and good. Small fish of many varieties are caught along the shore, and the flying-fish are common. Eels of immense size are caught in the cavities and crevices of the rock-bound coast. Fresh-water fish are reported to exist in the lakes inside of the craters, but we did not see any of them.

Turtles are plentiful and are highly esteemed; at certain seasons a watch for them is constantly maintained on the sand beach. The turtle occupies a prominent place in the traditions, and it is frequently represented in the hieroglyphics and also appears on the sculptured rocks. A species of crayfish classified by Dr. Philippi, of Chili, as "paparchalu," is abundant. These are caught by the natives by diving into the pools among the rocks, and form an important article of food.

Shell-fish are plentiful. Remains of several varieties of univalves were found in the stone houses at Orongo, and frequently met with in the débris of the caves throughout the island.

p. 459

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