Fishing in the Guadiana River, in the region of Alcoutim, dates back at least to recent prehistory with the humanization of this territory. It is an artisanal activity that holds several techniques, arts and knowledge transmitted between parents and children over generations. Its development, like other traditional activities, was due to the need for survival of the riverside communities that knew how to take advantage of the river fish, as a natural resource, for their food. As time went by, specialized fishing communities were formed, which traded the fish for other products they did not have. Traditional fishing gears were used for centuries with almost no significant changes. In the Alcoutim region the most used gears are trammel nets, hooks and pots. In recent decades, mainly due to imposed legislation, tarrafas, fisga, colher, tapa esteiros and redisca are no longer used.

The species fished are mainly eel, lamprey, mullet, barb, saboga, boga, and shad. In summer, bass and croaker are also fished, marine species that go up the river to Alcoutim where the water in summer is very salty. The sturgeon was an important species fished here and that disappeared from the Guadiana as the waters became polluted. The traditional boats used in this territory were the “pateira” or “bateira”, the “chata”, the “bote” and the “lancha” which moved by the force of oars. These wooden boats were manufactured locally. In most riverside villages there were naval carpenters who made and restored these types of boats. Often it was the fishermen themselves who accumulated these skills. In recent decades these traditional boats have been replaced by modern fiber boats and the few that remain were adapted engines.

Nowadays the traditional fishing in the Guadiana is in serious danger of disappearing. The fishermen still active are very few in number and at advanced ages. Contributing to the current state of this activity, which culturally marked the populations of the river bank, are the sharp decline in fish due to the growing pollution of the river waters, the legislative restrictions that banned many fishing gears and placed restrictions on the use of others. All these factors have made the activity unprofitable or unprofitable, leading to the disinterest of the younger generations and making it a complementary activity for the older ones.



Algarve Imaterial
Contribuição para o Conhecimento das Artes de Pesca Utilizadas no Rio Guadiana_IPIMAR