The Torre San Giovanni–Ugento fishing area is located in a stretch of sea off the coast between Torre Pali and Torre Mozza, extending to around 3 miles offshore. The sea is very shallow here and the bed is characterized by scattered banks where the depth can quickly change from 5 meters to just 70 centimeters. Known as the Secche di Ugento (the “Ugento shallows”), they lie in front of the port of the same name. Plutarch mentioned the area in his biography of Pyrrhus, describing how, after a storm, the Epirote king’s boat ran aground in the shallow waters.
Fishing in this part of the Ionian Sea is practiced by artisanal fishers who are very familiar with the treacherous Ugento seabed. They have inherited a centuries-long tradition of fishing, historically based on techniques that respect the sea and the life cycles of its inhabitants. A particular type of net is used for every species, with different-sized meshes that ensure high selectivity and therefore greater sustainability. Traps and lines are also used. The catch varies depending on the season, and can include mackerel, bluefish, greater amberjack, Atlantic bonito, barracuda, gray mullet, frigate tuna and cuttlefish in the fall and winter; dentex, white bream, sea bream and sea bass in the summer and fall; and octopus and mullet in the spring.
Fish are caught all year round, with the species varying depending on seasonal fishing bans.