The Torre Guaceto–Carovigno marine protected area covers 2,000 hectares of uncontaminated sea, divided into three zones. Fishing is only allowed in one, Zone C. The marine protected area is part of the nature reserve of the same name, which is made up of large swathes of agricultural land planted with Fiaschetto tomatoes (also a Slow Food Presidium), olive trees and fields of artichokes. Archeological finds within the nature reserve have shown that fishing was already being practiced along the coast here during the Bronze Age (between 3500 and 1200 BC).
Six fishermen now fish here, all members of the cooperative Emma. Their boats are 4 to 5 meters long and they do not venture further than 12 miles from the coast, practicing artisanal, sustainable fishing that respects the ecosystem. For the last decade, the marine area’s management body has directly involved the fishermen in the formulation of fishing policies. This has meant that fishing’s impact on the marine ecosystem has been limited, with excellent results for marine fauna repopulation.
Fishing within Zone C is allowed only once a week, and the fishermen use nets that range from 500 meters (with a 36-milimeter mesh), used for catching bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix), to 1,000 meters (with a 30-milimeter mesh) for other species. The catch varies depending on the season: 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. Studies carried out over the last few years have shown how catch sizes have increased for many species (particularly mullet and scorpion fish) and how some species considered to have died out in the area, like bluefish, have now returned. The sea is in good health and the Torre Guaceto fishers, working together with the marine area administrators, are its best guardians.
Fish are caught all year round
Torre Guaceto marine protected area, Brindisi province, Puglia region
Società Cooperativa Emma
Via Sant’Anna, 6
Tel. +39 347 4703926
The Emma cooperative brings together the four fishermen of the Presidium: Felice Caccetta, Cosimo De Biasi, Vito Giovanni De Biasi and Domenico Natola.