Sea, men, tuna and tuna fisheries. A world destined to disappear. A culture that no longer able 'to be passed down from father to son. Economic, cultural, new fishing methods have decreed the end of this fascinating world of real people, wise and hard-working. The photos that I realized refer to the trap of Bonagia, a few kilometers from Trapani. Photo are, unfortunately, history. The tuna, in fact, does not fall more 'networks for several years.
In the seas of the latest traps were lowered Trapani in Sicily, for centuries the most famous and productive in the Mediterranean. And 'here that in the spring takes the ancient rite of "slaughter", tuna fishing using traditional methods rich in culture and history, a collection of myth and religion, legend and science. Today along the coast of Trapani Alcamo ranging from Mazara del Vallo are operating the traps of Favignana and San Giuliano / Bonagia, in the 50s were twelve plants active, but the pollution and the gradual depletion of fish have resulted in the closure of almost all structures, and the old factories where the fishing gear were stored and processed tuna fall apart, poignant examples of industrial archeology offended by time and forgotten by men.
The tuna is a system of fixed networks fell along the path that tuna perform from early spring to late summer in search of warm waters and the high degree of salinity where to play; traps "stroke" or " forward "are those that capture the tuna during the breeding season (May-June)," return "those that capture the specimens at the end of the period gene (July - August). Favignana is that Bonagia traps are "running".
A long network called "pedal" placed vertically to the coast bars the way to tuna and directs them towards the open sea, where the trap is lowered itself (called "island"): a rectangular grid divided by movable gates - too ' they network - more "rooms". The tuna arriving on the island are passed from one "room" to another by opening and closing the doors of the network, to the last chamber, said "death", the only one with the movable floor. The fishermen "tonnaroti" pull by force of arms the mobile network singing ancient songs, and when the tuna come to the surface begins the slaughter: from barges blacks men engage them with long hooks and pull them on board with enormous efforts (some fish weigh more than 400 kilograms). All fishing operations are guided by the "rais" the most experienced tuna station, the repository of knowledge handed down orally from generation to generation.
The massacre is an extraordinary spectacle, in which the killing of huge fish is not a gratuitous violence - like bullfighting - but responds to specific social and economic needs: a good fishing season, today as yesterday, depend on the fate of hundreds of families (businessmen, fishermen, dealers, restaurateurs and hoteliers also to recall that the trap has on tourists and scholars on ethnic anthropology).
The tuna Italian oldest still in business is that of San Giuliano / Bonagia (the first official records date back to 1200), where you can watch the fishing operations in a non-transfigured by the presence of tourists: the slaughter here is identical to that of past centuries, and time seems to stand still on the faces of the tuna fishermen dug from the sun and the notes of "cialome", the songs that accompany the hard work of men.
Tuna fishing with nets has ancient origins (it also speaks of Homer in the Odyssey); traps were operating in almost all the Italian coasts, from Liguria to Trieste (at the end of the nineteenth century were little more than a hundred). Today a couple of traps are lowered on the west coast of Sardinia.