the Ancient Sicilian ritual of bluefin Tuna fishing. by
Theresa Maggio 2000
I cant reproduce the feel of this book, TM is startlingly open about her affairs, but some factoids are fascinating...
Her grandparents from Santa Margharita Belioce, which features in "the
Leopard" - cant get more Sicilian than that.
thynnus lives 20-30 years. Since classical times, They were caught from Spain to Turkey in
huge snares "tonnera" from tonno, Italian for Tuna. The headman is called the rais, an Arab word., the men are tonnoroti.
2 Tonnoraqs remain in Sicily, the queen of them all is Favignana. In
the Egadi Islands.
TM visited in 1986 and many times after 93.
Some terms: Bastardella, the last room before the Chamber of Death. 100n x 25m
The call "Ai-a mola" as the tonnorati pull the net means "pull you moor"
Battle of Egadi in the 10 mile strait between F and Marsala.
in 241 BC the Romans beat the Carthigineans with 100 copies of
Phoenician quinqeremems - start of the Roman Empire
807 AD Arabs founded the tonnora, may heve been something there already.
They added music and terminology, but no major new technology.
Normans took over in C11
The Tuna were salted from the salt pans of Marsala - ther windmills
are still working?>
in 1400 they were preserved in olive oil from Jorba.
in 1829 he Forio family leased F.
F. had elecitricity before Rome - for the cannery which was the largest in Europe,
in a 1957 movie a Japanes is already seen. The meat , toro, is $75 for 2 slices. Maguro is low fat, chutoro, medium, jotoro the fattest.,
Which I have eaten, from Southern bluefin, it was thrown to the dogs in Japan until MacArthur decreed that to be a waste.
Not my favourite seafood (Bluff oysters, crayfish, rainbow trout fresh smoked..)
...In the mid 70s advances in refrigeration (?) and airfreight enabled toro in Tokyo.
By the South PAcific Island of Satani Island a seine net would take 150,000 tuna in a haul (not blue?). The Satani rituals include the fish must be eaten with the hands, no salt or seasonings, hand to be washed in fresh water...
the 1400 in the 1992 mattanza a trivial number in comarison?
TM says the bluefin is the 2nd largest bony fish after Black Marlin @ 2000lb - I suspect some marlin or sunfish exceed - biggest blue recorded 680kg.
books: Douglas Whynott 1995 "Giant Bluefin".
Carl Safina "Song for the Blue Ocean"
1998 ICCAT quota West 2400ton, East 40,400ton but they cross?
The mattanza has survived "the intention was that of transformng the mattanza into a tourist event, and we succeeded"
Gioacchino... the rais 1998
"June this year (2009) hoping to catch the Mattanza. ... Our taxi driver said that this was the first year with no Mattanza in decades!!![sic] [Centuries??] H"
This is all apropos a NYT article that Paul Greenberg wrote...
fish oil comes mostly from menhaden, a fish from the herring family. Menhaden are particularly good at converting algae into omega-3 ... Their consumption of algae helps keeps the oceans clean. They are also the base of the omega-3 food chain as tuna, striped bass, redfish and bluefish among others eat menhaden as a source of omega-3s.
However, the future is looking dim for menhaden, Greenberg wrote. Humans use menhaden for animal feed, lipstick, paint, edible spreads, salad dressing and fish oil. With a half-billion menhaden taken from the ecosystem every year, numbers are in decline.
PG compared the menhaden with the passenger pigeon, and seemed to say that Chesapeake bay may soon be stinking with uneaten algae. Federal oceans opened to George Bush Senior's ofish oil company... I had thought that this company was one decent thing the Bush family had done.
Omega Protein of Houston, has been catching 90 percent of the nation’s menhaden. The perniciousness of menhaden removals has been widely enough recognized that 13 of the 15 Atlantic states have banned Omega Protein’s boats from their waters. But the company’s toehold in North Carolina and Virginia (where it has its largest processing plant), and its continued right to fish in federal waters, means a half-billion menhaden are still taken from the ecosystem every year.
For fish guys like me, this egregious privatization of what is essentially a public resource is shocking.
see another companise defence: