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EN_01496628_0027
EN_01496628_0027

The Italian coast guard raids and Atlantic bluefin tuna (thunnus thynnus) fishing operation owned by Andrea Farris off Portoscuso, Sardinia, Italy, June 14, 2021. To catch the fish, the fishermen (tonnarotti) traditionally trap the fish and then drive them from one chamber of nets to the next until the fish reach the so called camera della morte (lit. chamber of death) where they kill the fish and haul them into boats. This final part is called mattanza in Italian (lit. slaughter) or almadraba in Spanish. Farris' operation gave up this technique this year and now kills the fish with a harpoon one by one, since he considers the resulting meat superior and the technique more humane. The traditional technique was developed by Phoenician fishermen some two thousand years ago, who brought it to Europe during Islamic periods on the continent. Over the centuries, there were hundreds if not thousands of fisheries that used the elaborate system of nets to trap and kill Atlantic bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean. Today, because of overfishing, changing migratory routes and more efficient fishing techniques, there are only two left in the Mediterranean. Both of them are located on the Italian island of Sardinia. Locally, they are known as tonnaras. But only the tonnara in Carloforte, opposite of Portoscuso, still practices the mattanza. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of endangered species, Atlantic bluefin tuna is endangered and its stocks declining. This is mostly due to modern forms of fishing such as purse seine and longline fishing.

EN_01496628_0049
EN_01496628_0049

Andrea Farris, the owner of an Atlantic bluefin tuna (thunnus thynnus) fishery argues with the Italian coast guard during a raid on his operation off Portoscuso, Sardinia, Italy, June 14, 2021. To catch the fish, the fishermen (tonnarotti) traditionally trap the fish and then drive them from one chamber of nets to the next until the fish reach the so called camera della morte (lit. chamber of death) where they kill the fish and haul them into boats. This final part is called mattanza in Italian (lit. slaughter) or almadraba in Spanish. Farris' operation gave up this technique this year and now kills the fish with a harpoon one by one, since he considers the resulting meat superior and the technique more humane. The traditional technique was developed by Phoenician fishermen some two thousand years ago, who brought it to Europe during Islamic periods on the continent. Over the centuries, there were hundreds if not thousands of fisheries that used the elaborate system of nets to trap and kill Atlantic bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean. Today, because of overfishing, changing migratory routes and more efficient fishing techniques, there are only two left in the Mediterranean. Both of them are located on the Italian island of Sardinia. Locally, they are known as tonnaras. But only the tonnara in Carloforte, opposite of Portoscuso, still practices the mattanza. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of endangered species, Atlantic bluefin tuna is endangered and its stocks declining. This is mostly due to modern forms of fishing such as purse seine and longline fishing.