The art of fishing

Up to several decades ago, fishing in our seas, as in other countries in the same region and with the same culture, has always been carried out using artisan methods. The development of this activity has taken place at the same rate as the incorporation of technology, particularly from the Second World War onwards, which converted the wooden barracks into authentic plants for producing fish efficiently and safely.

This does not mean that during previous centuries, no changes have taken place in fishing methods or technological development, although the truth is, these changes have been very modest.Such changes have been due to need: fish populations have always been subject to natural fluctuations in terms of abundance, even before men started to over-exploit fishing resources, and the reasons for these fluctuations are related to the complex mechanisms that govern marine eco-systems and the way they inter-react with the climate.

In any case, during times of low abundancein respect of a particular species, fishermen have always found a way to modify pre-existing techniques and methods and make up for small catches.These changes which were, in principle, not accepted by everyone, since there were considered ineffectual or harmful to the species, were eventually adopted by the entire fleet once they had been proved to be valid.

However, on the return of the periods of abundance of the species, the old methods were no longer used, and these minor technological developments were gradually and finally incorporated into the “know-how” of fishermen. Inthis way, techniques and methods have evolved from the rudimentary harpoons, beach encircling nets and primitive trammel nets, and gradually been increased the fishing capacity of the fleets.

Currently, the spectacular technological developments have led to an important decline fall in the populations ofmost species of fish sold in the market, in such a way that it has been necessary to implant increasingly strictregulations to correctly control the fishing of those species. In the constant process of change and improvements with regard to technology, the problem is no longer how to increase catches but to do so effectively and safely, i.e., obtaining the same output with a minimum of effort (in time, number of boats, fuel, etc.).

Other innovations applied in order to obtain economic profits and competitiveness are aimed at the concept of “added-value”, based on catching and processing fish using methods that will optimise its value on the market, through improved presentation, freshness, size, etc. Also, there are currently technologies existing that enable the catching of the permitted species or population segment, and letting the other fish escape, thereby complying with the legislation.

Fishing in Basque Country

The fishing techniques most often used in the Basque Country fleet are:

  • Encircling nets:
    This is a net in the shape of a large cylinder, deployed by the boat, with the help of an auxiliary boat, that encircles the fish shoal.It is then closed at the bottom, leaving the fish trapped inside, and raised to the boat with the help ofscoop nets. It is used for pelagic species such as anchovies, longfin tuna, mackerel, etc.
  • Cacea or currican:
    The boat has a series of rods some 5 m in length with bait on their hooks, that are dragged along the surface, while the boat moves at low speed.This is a special technique for catching tuna.
  • Bakas and bous:
    These are nets in the shape of a funnel that are dragged along the sea bottom. The boat pulls the two cables fastened to the widest part of the funnel, to ensure that the net is opened as wide as possible.
  • Beam trawling:
    A trawling net in which the cables are pulled by two boats, to ensure the maximum opening up of the net. This technique is used to catch cod.
  • Live bait:
    This is a relatively modern technique used to catch longfin and bluefin tuna. The rods have live bait on their hooks (anchovy or mackerel maintained in a tank on the boat), which the tuna bites. Part of the bait is usually cast into the water to encourage the fish to bite.
  • “Mallabakarra” and trammel net:
    These are fixed nets with one and three meshes respectively, that are placed and anchored to the bottom of the sea using anchors.The fish are caught in the net passively, and the nets act as a barrier to which the fish become hooked, when they try to pass through them.
  • Longline (stone-ball):
    A line of hooks laid out at a certain distance from each other.An anchor with a float is placed at alternate intervals between the hooks to keep the line at the requireddepth.
  • Pots net:
    The use of pots is declining,These are cages into which bait is inserted to attract the prey and they are built in such a way that the prey can easily enter but not get out.


Últimas noticias

  • Cruz del Calvario de Mundaka.
    Cruz del Calvario de Mundaka.

    Si algo caracteriza al País Vasco es la excelencia de su cocina y la calidad de sus restaurantes, desde los más sofisticados. las mesas más humildes.

  • La magia de nuestra gastronomía
    La magia de nuestra gastronomía
    Si algo caracteriza al País Vasco es la excelencia de su cocina y la calidad de sus restaurantes, desde los más sofisticados a las mesas más humildes.

Udalarrantz - Red de municipios pesqueros del País Vasco