Nassa Shrimp

Ark of taste
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Parapendalo (Pleisonika narval) is an elegant pink shrimp, with a long rostrum, relatively common in the western Mediterranean, which finds its ideal habitat in the fascinating environment of dark submarine caves.Its predilection for this kind of habitat makes the pink cave shrimp very difficult to catch with both dragnets and common fishing nets. For this reason, the community of fishermen gathering around the villages of Marina del Cantone, Torca and Sant’Agata dei due Golfi has always been using an alternative but equally efficient method: the creel. The one used for parapendalo fishing is made of woven myrthe and rush; with a big pumpkin shape and an imbute-shaped mouth making it easy for the prey, attracted by the bite put inside it, to enter but extremely hard to exit. It is hand-woven by fishermen during the winter months, when fishing is completely suspended.The skills and the care needed for creel-making togehter with the low yield of this fishing technique discourage younger generations of fishermen, redirecting them towards other choices; as a result in the Sorrento peninsula there are now only three crews left making most of their living out of pink shrimp fishing.To avert this tendance, the Punta Campanella Nature and Marine Reserve, safeguarding the peninsula’s outer coasts, decided to encourage this antique technique by including creels among the authorised fishing devices in the area. The creation of a Presidium will help giving some oxygen and visibilità to this small community and, in the plans of the Reserve, to acknowledge its role as a ‘sea sentinel’: the presence of an active nucleus of coast fishermen is in fact a tool for the prevention of illegal fishing, apart from allowing ancient traditions to survive.The quality of this shrimp’s ‘pastures’, in dim areas dominated by submarine streams, makes its meat particularly firm and sweet. Tasting a freshly fished parapendalo gives an idea of why shellfish, together with all the rest of not-properly-fish marine creatures, in Italian are called by the generic name ‘sea fruits’ (frutti di mare). Connoisseurs advice to consume it either raw, not even sprinkled with lemon juice as in the tradition, or sauté with a pinch of salt and ground pepper. It gives its best matched with a white wine from the same Campania region, tasty and with a good structure but not aromatic, such as Costa d’Amalfi Furore Bianco.  

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