Palolo predicted to rise on Sunday
The rare palolo delicacy is predicted to rise this weekend and again in mid-November says the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (M.A.F.).
The M.A.F.'s Principal Fisheries Officer, Su’a Sapeti Tiitii, in response to emails from the Samoa Observer said palolo rising predictions are on Sunday, 20th October, 21 October and 19 and 20th November 2019.
The prediction is based on the lunar cycle, or the moon phase, which is the 7th day after the full moon in October and November each year.
According to the Ministry’s surveys, the possible sites of palolo rising include; Tuialamu (Lalomanu), Falealili, Matautu-Lefaga, Salamumu, Falelatai in Upolu, and Safotu, Fagasa, Asau, Sataua, Papa-Sataua, Palauli, Satupaitea, Itu-Salega, in Savaii
Su’a told the Samoa Observer, that data collected from the local markets shows palolo levels fluctuating in the past five years.
In 2015, the highest in volume and values of palolo were recorded at $360,000 at 3,500 kg.
Last year showed the volume of palolo landed at the markets was around 1,000 kg valued at about $48,000.
Su’a explained that the data collected from the palolo rising sites also varied in the past years where heavy emergency of palolo occurred in October 2013 and November 2015, 2017 and 2018.
The years 2014, 2016 recorded medium, small or nil traces of palolo for October and November of the respective years.
“These are some of the factors contributing to this fluctuation pattern of the emergence of palolo such as the moon phase, tides and the types of habitats,” said the Principal Officer.
The flowering of the fragrant mosooi flower is believed by Samoans to be a good indicator of the palolo worm's spawning season.
To ensure the catch is abundant, palolo catchers often wear clean attire and moso’oi leis to attract the delicacy during time of harvesting.
According to Samoan prediction, the palolo will rise to the surface and most plentifully above occasional deep holes within the encircling reefs on the seventh morning of the full moon.
The palolo feast is a rare delight only availabl once or twice a year if it rises in October and November.
The word palolo is believed to signify to the locals the blooming of spring and season of excellent fishing and of abundant rain (rainy season being called Vaipalolo).
Members of the public are advised that some villages have fees for entry to some of the palolo sites.