Esa Rahunen, the Long Time Leader of Puruvesi Winter Seiners Passes in Finland


Winter seiner, professional fisherman Esa Rahunen departed from this world on 21st February, 2016. He was 60 -years -old and lost a long term battle with cancer. Mr. Rahunen was the long-time leader of the Kesälahti Fish Base in Puruvesi, North Karelia, Finland.

Esa Rahunen was born in 1955 and immersed himself in the traditional winter seining, all done by hand, with his uncles and father. He mastered over 135 apaja catch sites on the lake Puruvesi and carried the oral histories, traditional knowledge and long-term connections to the ice and waters of Puruvesi as an unbroken connection to 1300 AD when records begin in the community.

esa3He also modernized and balanced the traditional seining with the arrival of the net guiding torpedoes and small engines assisting in the pulls on the ice. He worked in several regional fishery and related organisations.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Jules Pretty from the University of Essex, UK, was a close friend of mr. Rahunen. They collaborated on science, study of climate change, traditional knowledge, seminars and visits to the ice. Professor Pretty hosted Esa in Essex in the Spring 2012 where we spoke on the winter seining at the Ecocultures 2012 Conference. Professor Pretty has stated that: “Esa Rahunen, the long-time leader of the Puruvesi winter seiners, has made a deep and meaningful efforts to share his traditional knowledge in order to benefit all humankind…Esa has been able to contribute his wise understanding of the world to benefit our understanding of the impacts of climate change in particular and more generally about how best we in industrialised countries could and should amend our ways of living to benefit the planet“.

Mr. Rahunen will be mourned by his widow Vuokko, children Heidi and Jarmo and grandchildren as well as a large group of friends around the world.

Tero Mustonen was a long term friend of Esa Rahunen and the current head of the Kesälahti Fish Base in Puruvesi, North Karelia, Finland

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