Titiwi, known scientifically as salangidae, is a tiny translucent fish usually found near the river's mouth. They are related to trout and salmon family but remain very small between 1/2 - 1 inches. Titiwi follows the lunar calendar, appearing near shore at certain times of the year.
Like clockwork on the 4th day after the last lunar quarter, arriving from somewhere in the Caribbean sea, titiwi, a translucent, tiny, guppy-sized fish (gobi family) appear by the multiple hundreds of millions, at the mouths of the island’s fresh water rivers. Their appearance occurs near the end of a pilgrimage that takes them from sea, up the rivers to a possible fate of spawning, followed by death or perhaps a journey back out to sea.
This occurrence electrifies local fishermen, villagers, fish buyers, restaurant owners, old, young, children, dogs, larger fish, and sea birds of all types as, at daybreak, all are clustering and clamoring along the shore and into the river mouth and sea to partake, share and assist in the catch... a delicacy soon to be steamed, boiled, fried as cakes or ackra... destined for cook stoves and table tops across the island.
Arriving by boat at the mouth of the Layou River, the largest on Dominica, (located along the west coast). As the sun breaks over the mountains to the east, dozens of small boats, men, boys and women of all ages are already waist to neck deep just off the shoreline, helping to manage large, 100 feet or more in length, nets that are being used to capture the titiwi in their instinctive, unstoppable migration surge up the river.
There is a clutter of hollering and shouting of orders, a community of help and excitement as everyone labors in heaving and controlling the nets or, lugging 40 gallon barrels, wash tubs, buckets, pots, pans and plastic sacks, all teaming with the tiny fish, to shore. Small boys help where they can. Women and their young daughters and sons, grandmothers and grandfathers, and host of other spectators, watch from along the sandy shore, waiting to purchase a pound or two or 10 or more of the tiny fish.
The momentum of the fishing and selling lasts for hours into the twilight of evening until, for both man & tiny fish, all are finished... until the next 4th day after the last lunar quarter when the titiwi return, again.