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LA ALMADRABA

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From the most impressive spectacles that can be seen at sea, there is one with a great tradition that has been fed to the Mediterranean peoples over many centuries. The Mediterranean coast, especially near the Strait of Gibraltar, especially in the most southern towns, has been installing a gear with a great history and, at the same time, is this extraordinary spectacle that we talked about before.

The trap net fishing gear that has inspired many stories over time, is one of the most curious and interesting shapes that can be seen in fishing villages on the coast of Cadiz. Its operation is simple, yet very effective. It is taking advantage of the migratory path of tuna through the strait, in a maze of networks in the passage of these huge fish to catch them once in power.

A bit of history

In the Cadiz coast, where they are located some of the most famous traps, find references from long ago.

In the twelfth century, the Duke of Medina Sidonia, received the order from the King to manage these arts, management took the ducal house until the early nineteenth century, where business step by hand.

"In 1294, King Sancho IV" Bravo ", gave Guzman" El Bueno "the privilege of fishing for tuna, it passed to his descendants the Dukes of Medina Sidonia, who gave name to these traps One of the best known and important was to Zahara. "

After seeing the impossibility of keeping things as they were, a body that tied together all small businesses that were engaged in maintenance and operation of the traps, thus giving birth to Almadrabero National Consortium, which was liquidated in 1973 was created, although placing traps have continued to this day and it seems that the recovery of the species is enabling placement arises in places where they were historically but the vicissitudes of the economy made them disappear.

One of the people with more tradition tuna fishery in the province of Cadiz, is precisely the one in question. So much so, that bears the name Zahara de los Atunes precisely for this reason. It dates from the Middle Ages and since then has not disappeared from the coast, giving thus a special kitchen of the town which has among its star dishes precisely bluefin tuna in many forms, tastes and smells touches that delight demanding palates.

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When it

In the trap itself is a delight not to be missed if you visit the town. The time of the trap is spring, when migrating tuna passing through the Strait begins. Both the placement, as one of the summits moments is lifted, when the tuna nets where they have been so far are removed, they are often highly recommended to learn this art has ended up becoming a way of life for many people .

The traps owe their reputation to the literary Cervantes gaze and saying: "He went for tuna and the duke." For the Duke, not prevent the actual service, I was in the trap. Went to throw the networks, often with the family. Comfortable travel by sea, land used to do, to go through Medina Sidonia and Chiclana. Boat kitchen, beds, appliances, pantry and was taking supplies last. Guzman was staying at the Castle of Conil, occupying the tower watched in Zahara, since the Palace was built batteries, giving rise to the children of tanned and learn, running on the beach between the "rabble" or embarking on the boats. Collected with nets, they undertook the way back.

In seeking fresh money, accumulated in the year, debts were paid in the fishery. The custom gave reputation to the company, if goose that lays golden eggs. Good business until the second half of the sixteenth century, had the disadvantage of being subject to the law of supply and demand. Abundant fish, lowered the price, offsetting the rise, when there were missing.

In the second half of the sixteenth century, catches hovered around 50,000 tuna, it seems that buyers are missed then.

The cost of preparing the trap, spread appears in the books of accounts. During the winter, nets and ropes were woven in the Fog County, esparto and hemp imported from Alicante; rivera carpenters built and repaired boats; Remolar, with fixed annual allowance for the fact reside in Sanlúcar, it dealt with the oars, ensuring pay several coopers, the preparation of soles for boots, barrels and kegs, in beech woods, imported from Vizcaya and sometimes England.

In the meadows of Bollullos and Doñana, cork and oak wood was cut, for boats, oars and studs. And the Rocinas willow branches, aimed at the arches of the "pot". When they missed, "strapping arch" imported chestnut. In the late seventeenth century, iron appeared. It devalued the sauce, finished with a career. As spring approaches, were sought and hired crews, usually in Huelva, upon advancement, custom time and shortage of people willing to work extended to other unions.

When eating servers on account of the company, was stored wheat, barley without forgetting the horses. Fed to the letter heads, with the official double ration, common received pint of wine and a loaf of bread a day and half pound of meat, beef or veal week. Other food seasoned officers, under the auspices of the same cook, who ran the cooking stew people, to please, to the meat garlic, onions and vegetables were added.

His trap bakery, baker and contracted with kneading, being subordinate the young men, who helped butcher, but not the owner. He simply seek and serve the meat. Laundry, barber, water carriers, who snuggled the pitcher, completed the staff. The landlord, tenant of the pub in Zahara, was not an employee of the house, but assumed the duty to report absences. Often the ventureros to depart during the season, leaving none lightest in its name, the real and secured environment, to stay on the beach.

The season was extended from 40 to 60 days, with irregular work. A conference at which they worked from dawn to dusk, when ventureros gave no rough, still monotonous days, not peered tuna. Forced to keep men on the beach, as the sides not warned, being rogues enemies of boredom, the company turned a blind eye, allowing them to work at will, giving the final destination emoluments, gamblers, prostitutes and other graduates, art to help kill time.

Immigration tuna, red comes in spring to spawn in the Mediterranean, the Atlantic back in autumn. The trap was armed passenger and return, but the latter rarely mounted Guzman. It was put together on occasion, in the late seventeenth century when he had forgotten the tuna back, has lost quality and taste.

From time immemorial, there were two types of trap: to crop or Sicilian, common in Italy and Portugal and shooting. This was the one used Phoenicians, Romans and Andalusians, both Muslim and Christian period. The second required the constant presence of 300 men, of "out and rope" between Conil and Zahara; the first of fifty specialists, at most, increasing staff to 180 laborers, in the days when the tuna nets were hoisted into the boats, using grappling hooks, shorter than those used by paraleros in the shooting.

Both traps require clean sand, no rocks or obstacles that can get caught in the nets, located where tuna pass near Earth. Optimas the Conil and Zahara, being near the strait, which were assembled in other beaches of Cadiz, Huelva and Portugal, were profitable, but fell far short of its importance. In the Andalusian Mediterranean tuna they were also caught, but in such small quantities that rarely was worth trap arm.The passage of the tuna is initiated by February or March, just warm spring, but the networks are not bounced through the end of April, to collect them in early July. Reformed the calendar by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582; subtracted 10 days a year on, the trap was launched around May 10.