OT: Almadraba

The word almadraba comes from Arabic and means the place to strike or fight. It is a fishing art used by the Phoenicians along the coasts of Cádiz and then later by the Romans. It consists of setting a maze of nets along tuna routes, normally located near the coast from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean from April to June. This fishing art is not aggressive and respectful of the species and the environment. Traditionally there were almadrabas everywhere along the provincial coast, but nowadays they are concentrated in coastal towns such as Conil, Barbate, Zahara de los Atunes and Tarifa. (Source: Cadiz Tourism)

The passage of Bluefin and other tuna through the waters of the Strait of Gibraltar on their migration from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean Sea (May to June) and the return (July to September), has favored offshore fishing on these coasts since very ancient times. A complex system of nets to capture these precious tuna was already used in Phoenician times. Activity in the Almadraba fishing networks was actively developed in the Roman period, coupled with their trading of derived products, and remained active during the Muslim era. There was great expansion between the 13th and 18th centuries, a period in which their operation was subject to the monopoly of the Ducal House of Medina Sidonia. Indisputably, the almadraba has been used as a fishing art for some 30 centuries, yet the species has only become endangered by excess capture in recent years, and not because of the almadraba fishing itself, but rather the contrary; the danger came with the use of modern capture techniques. It can be said that the almadraba is a sustainable form of fishing. On one hand, it is used only during a specific time of year, a period that does not interfere in the life cycles of the species. On the other, it is selective; of all the tuna circulating in the waters of the Strait of Gibraltar, only a small number are diverted towards the coast, where they enter the almadraba networks that trap them. In addition, the almadraba is respectful with the environment, and it is clean. As in ancient times, it is still a modus vivendi for many families in the populations of the Cadiz coast: Conil, Barbate, Zahara de los Atunes, Tarifa… It is their traditional way of life and, together with the processing and auxiliary industries, represents one of the backbones of local economy. (Source: Gourmet from Cadiz)


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