Not Tutuila's palolo
Hundreds of local residents looking to score even the slightest amount of palolo last week went home disappointed — and soaking wet — as the worm did not rise as predicted last Thursday evening, the seventh night following the full moon, which is generally when the palolo spawns every year.
Locals were skeptical that an abundance of the slimy worms would be collected from local waters, even though weather conditions were favorable for it. However Manu’a had a bonanza harvest. (See photo above.)
Employees from the Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources (DMWR) were out at various survey sites including the airport, and the Nuuuli coastline all the way towards the far east side village of Tula — hoping to get some data on this year's swarming, but there was nothing to report on.
DMWR's creel manager, Tepora Toliniu-Lavata'i told Samoa News yesterday they were not able to confirm if the rumors were true, that a resident from Masefau village was selling fist-sized(ofu) palolo portions at the Fagatogo Marketplace for $40 each earlier this week.
"By the time we arrived at the Market, nobody was selling palolo so we can't confirm anything right now,” she said.
She added they are still trying to confirm if any palolo was collected in the territory because from what they observed, people gave up after the first night.
"There were still a handful of residents who were seen hanging out around the coast until 4a.m., hoping for some palolo, and not wanting to go home in case they missed their chance," she said.
Tolinio-Lavata'i emphasizes that predictions of the palolo rise are a 'hit-and-miss game' and "we never know if there will be palolo or not."
She said DMWR even sent a boat out to survey the waters near the airport on the evening of Oct. 11th and 12th, and they came back empty handed. "It was rough, but nothing was caught," she said.
The next predicted date for the palolo rising is the late evening hours of Nov. 10th, early morning hours of Nov. 11th — although it is generally usual practice to check the night before and the night after the predicted dates.
The next full moon is set to appear on Nov. 3rd, putting the predicted rise of the palolo at Nov. 10th, seven days after the full moon.
Meanwhile, reports from Malie, Samoa state that one man was able to collect buckets full of palolo, and this is the first time — in a long time — that such a big catch of palolo has been collected in the area.
So don't put away your homemade cheesecloth net and plastic container just yet. Make sure your flashlight has batteries and mark the date: Nov. 11th. The worm could be making its way here from neighboring Samoa or Manu’a, which reported abundant catches of the swarm.