Carolines Commercial Agriculture

Copra has been important in the Carolines and continues to be the chief industry and source of income for the natives. Coconut plantations are prominent on both the high and the low islands. In the Palaus the rhinoceros beetle has been a factor in cutting production. Coir continues to be a by-product of the coconut industry. The sugar raised in the Carolines was largely used in manufacturing alcohol.
A number of minor agricultural industries, including the production of pineapples, coffee, and vanilla, were in an early stage of development immediately before the Second World War. Truck garden vegetables were also becoming important as the Japanese population increased. All of these have become war casualties.


Fishing is an important part of the native subsistence economy, and under the Japanese was an important commercial industry of the islands. Traditionally the natives have secured an important part of their diet from the lagoons and reefs and to a lesser extent from deep sea fishing. On the reefs they catch marine snails, clams, trepang, mollusks, and lobsters. In the lagoons and on the reefs they catch many species of fish with hooks and lines, spears, weirs, and stone traps. Trochus and pearl shell is collected. Outside the atolls they troll for bonito, shark, and other fish.

The Japanese fleet of small fishing boats, based on Koror, Truk, Ponape, and Yap, had built up a major deep-sea fishing industry, important for bonito and tuna. The Japanese fishing boats, gear, and cannery were destroyed during the Second World War and the Japanese fishermen have been repatriated. It will require training and capital to equip the natives for commercial deep-sea fishing as they had not participated in this industry under the Japanese.

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