Fishing with nets, trawling, purse seine… there are numerous ways of fishing which vary as they are adapted to the place and according to the type of fish sought, the kind of water in which they live, and also the environment where they can be found. Did you know that some villages on the Costa Blanca Norte were known for some of the most spectacular (and dangerous) types of fishing ever devised? These are known as “les pesqueres” and we plan to tell you all about this ancient practice.
A little bit of history
Fishing is an activity that has been carried out in various forms since the dawn of civilisation. With the passage of time, fish have learned to find places where they can hide such as the waters beneath the cliffs that are difficult to access for vessels due to the rocks on the shoreline. The Costa Blanca Norte shore has a long line of varied cliffs and what is the best way to fish in those places? The ‘Les Pesqueres’ arise because in the past, many fishermen would hang from the walls of the cliffs in order to fish on the rocks or balance on hurdles, using a traditional fishing rod or a spear in the form of a trident. These activities led to all kinds of structures with ladders, ropes and canes known as “pesqueres”.
As mentioned, it was a very risky way to fish and it was a method that was mainly used by the fishermen of Benitachell. Today this practice is greatly reduced and only a few family members of those daring fishermen have inherited the tradition. In fact it is still possible to see some of the ladders and ropes that they used to use in the area of Morro de Toix, near Altea.
Why did they do it like that?
Fishing from the cliffs employs the “vertical” technique, which basically consists of lowering the bait into the water and this way it is possible to fish in very deep waters without having to cast the line very far. Also it is important to bear in mind that the best time to fish is paradoxically after a spell of bad weather, as the fish seek refuge from the strong currents by sheltering under the cliff face. In practical terms, scaling the rock face of the cliffs to fish from the crags or from the cane hurdles meant that the fishermen risked their lives to earn some income for the family coffers.
Les Pesqueres today
As it was such a dangerous activity, and thanks to more modern fishing techniques, les pesqueres has more or less passed into the annals of history, Even so, the remains of ladders and hurdles can still be seen in some parts of the Costa Blanca Norte such as Morro de Toix, in Altea mentioned above. In Jávea there is a cove known as Les Pesqueres, which can be accessed from the Mirador de Ambolo lookout point. Benitachell is the place to go to find the real essence of this ancient practice. With its famous cliff path you can see the different points from where some of the bravest fishermen ventured to obtain their catch.
Did you know about this little bit of Costa Blanca Norte’s history? If you didn’t, it probably came as a surprise. And if you want to know more about this ancient fishing technique, we recommend a visit to the website Nits de Tinta, this audio visual project pays homage to these fishermen and tells the story of their lives. Don’t miss our upcoming blog posts where we will have more stories for you, along with news and activities in and around Residential Resort Cumbre del Sol.