Almadrába - Sposób Na Tuńczyka

Almadraba – A Method for Catching Tuna

Browsing through the spring season "Menu" of many restaurants, you often come across the name "Atún rojo de Almadraba". What is Almadraba?

From Andalusian Arabic, almadrába precisely means a place you hit or fight. It's one of the oldest and most popular methods of mass tuna fishing, used since pre-Roman times mainly in Italy, Morocco, Portugal, and southern Spain. From early spring to July, fishermen take advantage of the Atlantic-Mediterranean tuna migration, which occurs close to the coastlines. They install huge labyrinths of nets through which the fish enter a space from which escape is impossible – between boats prepared to cooperate, which, by reducing the distance between them, begin the bloody catch... I won't go into the details of the whole process, but it's clear what harpoons, hooks, and other fishing instruments are used for...

The largest tuna can be enormous, weighing up to 200 kg, which is why it's crucial for the fishing process to be based on principles of mutual cooperation. 

The whole phenomenon is quite an opportunity for marine mammals like dolphins or orcas, which have taken a liking to the migration season as an easy way to get food. Boldly, they snatch parts of the caught tunas from hooks and harpoons, which is why here, in the Strait of Gibraltar, they're seen as pests by fishermen. Yet for a marine mammal enthusiast, catching sight of a big, black-and-white orca leaping for its prey can be quite the spectacle. 

If you happen to find yourselves around the southern part of Andalusia in the springtime, be sure to visit one of the smaller towns like Zahara de los Atunes (the name itself hints at the importance of tuna for the town's community), Barbate, the surroundings of Cadiz, or Tarifa, where the almadraba is a significant part of tradition and undoubtedly an opportunity for enrichment for many individuals and companies involved in fishing, because tuna prices during the season are naturally at their highest. That's where dishes made from freshly caught fish taste the best, and Spanish chefs will surely delight your taste buds...


Always on the move, though sometimes longing for a bit of boredom... 😉 My passions? Technology, photography, psychology, diving into various reads, and sports...especially the aquatic varieties! Professionally, I design websites, graphics, etc. I'm also the author of a website and a photographer at 📸

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