Reggio Calabria – Tuna

In Calabria, the Tyrrhenian coasts, and those of Pizzo have always been theater of the slaughter and have experienced moments of triumph of the tuna hunt. This type of fishing took place in a characteristic way: the tuna, in fact, were sighted and signaled from the mainland by towers specially built in strategic positions. In a document of 1577 the tonnarari are referred to stay away from home from mid-March to mid-October because of tuna fishing.

The naturalist Minasi da Scilla, noting the course of the schools of tuna, swordfish and dolphins had carefully noticed that in particular the tuna, often chased by the dolphins who try to prey on them, migrate upstream to more easily catch the plankton, preparing themselves to wedge, according to the greater hydrodynamic resistance profile. While waiting for the fish, the tuna chants were typical accompanying fishermen work. They stood with a very thin line that vibrated with the passage of tuna. It was the Arabs who invented the tonnara and they inherited not only the fishing technique, also the jargon, the songs, the traditions. The history of Calabria is closely intertwined with that of tuna fishing; tradition tells that the biggest tuna was offered to San Giorgio, protector of the tonnaroti, for the danger that escaped during the slaughter.

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