Praia da Vagueira #2, Portugal – October 2013

October 11, 2013

During our short stay at Praia da Vagueira we had the opportunity to watch the fishermen who still use traditional methods to set their nets.

Fishing the traditional way in Portugal

The unique flat-bottom wooden boats have been modified to use a 40 hp out-board motor instead of ores.

Each morning around 6:30 we could hear the rusted-out diesel tractors come to life and we would grab our cameras and head to the beach. The fishermen use traditional wooden flat bottom boats. Originally these boats were probably launched by hand through the waves with the help of oxen. Careful timing was important. They needed to launch between sets of waves that could easily capsize the boat. With the fishing nets in place, today’s tractors with power takeoff winches slowly pull the net back to shore. Again historically, oxen may have helped with this job.

The hard-working fishermen and women know their choreographed routine. Everyone has a job.

It was interesting to watch this historic way of fishing. The fishermen were hard-working men, boys and women, and they all knew exactly what they needed to do. As the net was drawn to shore, everyone anticipated what kind and how many fish would be in the net. Typically they went out three times in the morning before the surf got too rough. Sardines seemed to be the primary catch of this day. They were hauled from the net onto the beach and carried to a sorting table from where they were auctioned off to commercial buyers. It is a fascinating tradition being kept alive. A fishing museum is under construction nearby.










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