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Looking for traditional and responsible fishing communities, I was exploring Portugal coasts from Tavira to Sesimbra, Setubal and Cascais, when I came to Costa da Caparica. How lucky I was! The national inventory of intangible cultural heritage of Almada’s municipality was just including Xavega art.
Arte Xávega is a Portuguese traditional fishing art. Its evolution over the centuries is minimal, even though tractors and engines replaced the oxen and oars used in the past. Alas, it’s now disappearing. Only with the fierce desire to remain anchored in their environment despite the low income they derive from it, aged men and women, over 50 years old, still defend this unique kind of fishing. Respecting marine resources, this art is indubitably in line with the European framework of sustainable fishing. How far we are from destructive techniques such as bottom trawling!
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