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Palolo did not rise in November

The stats are in and according to the Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources, the more than 1,300 anxious palolo hunters who were hoping for a second swarming of the local delicacy last month went home empty-handed.


DMWR’s Yvonne Mika told Samoa News yesterday that between 600-700 palolo hunters lined the territory’s shores each night on Nov. 23 and 24, anticipating a second rise of the sea worms but “it was weak,” she said, adding that fishermen on ‘alia fishing boats who went out to the deep end in hopes of scoring big reported seeing palolo, but it was “scattered,” meaning it wasn’t strong enough to be scooped up and taken home.


As was predicted by some, a second palolo rise was not to be, as the initial swarming in October netted a big number of palolo being caught both close to shore and out in the deep. (It was sold on the street at $20-$30 for a fist-sized portion.)


The general consensus is — palolo will rise every year either in October or November, and sometimes during both months. However, if the palolo swarm is strong in October, as was the case this year, then chances are there will be no palolo in sight the following month; or, it will be a weak showing.


But locals were optimistic, lining the shore in truck loads with flashlights, mosquito netting, and cheese cloth in hand with the hope of getting a second shot at savoring the edible part of the polychaete worm (aka Eunice viridis).


For the Manu’a Islands, Mika reported that no palolo was caught last month, and  residents of the island group did enjoy an abundance of palolo in October.


Based on data collected from 60 people who were interviewed by DMWR, October’s palolo rise resulted in 7.7lbs. of palolo catch per person.


No palolo survey was conducted by DMWR last year because of the weak swarm. Mika explained that the purpose of the palolo survey “is to collect data on the relative harvest of the palolo spawning in volume.” She added, “this information will assist DMWR’s long term monitoring of fisheries and the palolo trends through the years.”