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Video lesson plan for: Primitive Technology: Freshwater Prawn Trap

1990s Culture and Technology: Events & Trends

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I built a prawn trap from lawyer cane, sticks and vine. Then I caught some prawns and ate them. Prawn (and fish) traps are simple traps designed to catch aquatic life due to their shape. It consists of a simple basket with a funnel shaped entrance. Prawns easily find their way into the trap as they are funneled in, but have difficulty finding the way out. I wove the main body of the trap from lawyer cane then made the funnel from sticks with vines woven between them. The funnel was then inserted in the top of the basket and was complete. I put the trap in the water under some tree roots without any bait. About 10 minutes later caught the first prawn which I stored in a pot of water. I caught another one and made a fire. I humanely killed the prawn using the splitting method which destroys the central nervous system (boiling alive is more painful). Then I put them back in the pot with water. I collected some yams that I planted years ago from wild stock and put them in too. I took 5 hot rocks from the fire and put them in the pot boiling the contents. The prawns turned red after cooking. They were peeled and eaten. The yams were also peeled and eaten. This method of catching prawns is easy with the only skill needed being basketry. In practice, a long stretch of creek might have several traps collecting food each day without any effort on the part of the fisherman. Bait is not necessary to catch prawns as they will be naturally be drawn to the fish trap out of curiosity. But scraps from previous prawns may be used to bring in new ones (they are cannibalistic) or other fish like eels. The prawn trap is easy to build and can be reused many times. Edit: I originally called this animal a shrimp when technically it is a freshwater prawn. A prawns segments overlap the ones after it whereas a shrimps second segment overlaps the first and third segment. Shrimp have a distinct bend in the tail. It is definitely not a crayfish however which is basically a freshwater lobster.

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