Sokendai Review of Cultural and Social Studies


The Green Turtle Fishing Cayuko (Dori Tara)
used around the Miskito Cays, Eastern Nicaragua

TAKAGI Hitoshi

(SOKENDAI (The Graduate University for Advanced Studies),
School of Cultural and Social Studies,
Department of Regional Studies.)

Key words:

Eastern Nicaragua, Miskito, green turtle fishing cayuko, Dori Tara(big canoe)

The green turtle fishing around the Miskito Cays, Eastern Nicaragua has been one of the major concerns of the program of conservation of endangered reptiles in the region. In this paper, I report on the boat structure, materials, tools and shipbuilding methods of the turtle fishing cayuko (Dori Tara, which means “big canoe” in Miskito) around the cays, based upon field observations. I will discuss why the use of the Dori Tara has spread widely throughout the coastal villages and how their construction is achieved in such remote areas.

The summary of the results obtained shows that the Dori Tara, which can carry aroundone dozen green turtles, 1) is made without the use of a design plan or model; 2) that the angles between keel, stem, stern, and frame are measured using several strings; 3) that the smooth profile of the hull, including frame angles, is guaged by rebar and made of the type of flexible wooden plates used to make window frames in raised floor-type Miskito houses; and 4) that the uniformity of the 24 sets of frames and splints was created using a small piece of wooden mold.

The turtle fishing cayuko and its use in the Miskito Cays has clearly been influenced by the Caymanian turtle fishing which lasted until the 60’s, However, the results showed thatthis influence is not the only cause for the continuation of turtle fishing along the coast.. In this region, where for long time the competition for marine resources has been fairly high, the coastal Miskitos have needed to devise methods for continuous boatbuilding in spite of the limitations imposed by their having few tools and un-automatized building methods. This has led to the widespread use of the turtle fishing cayuko in these coastal Miskito villages.