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Recreating the Tirada del Copo on the beach last weekend. L. Cádiz.
Fuengirola fishermen recreate ancient technique that is considered an art more than fishing
Heritage

Fuengirola fishermen recreate ancient technique that is considered an art more than fishing

This method of catching fish was banned in the 1960s but every year it is recreated by those who still remember it as part of the cultural heritage of the Los Boliches neighbourhood

Lorena Cádiz

Tuesday, 9 July 2024, 14:59

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José Rubio, a retired fisherman who turned 80 last month, and members of the Peña Bolichera club recreated the 'Tirada del Copo' on Fuengirola's Los Boliches beach last weekend, an ancient fishing technique which is considered an art more than fishing. Prior to the tourism boom, 'throwing the net' was the salvation of many of the households in Los Boliches. Children and grandparents would go into the sea and anchor two ropes about 50 metres from the shore and at a certain distance from each other. From the shore, several people would pull the ropes attached to the net, which caught all the fish in its path.

“The net throw is a technique I used to do when I was a child. In the 50s, when I was a young boy, all the adult men went to fish for tuna every time the ‘almadraba’ season came around. Back then, hunger dawned before the day. In those times there was a lot of fish, we always caught something and sold it for several pesetas, which helped to support the family,” he said.

In the 1960s, this technique was banned to protect immature fish. During the 1990s, Rubio began to request permits to be able to recreate this traditional custom, today a cultural symbol of Los Boliches and other seaside towns of the Costa del Sol. It is now recreated twice every year: once just before the celebration of the Virgen del Carmen, and the other on 15 August, to celebrate the Fiesta de los Veraneantes (holidaymakers festival).

Rubio, who explained that the boy who practised this tradition grew up and continued fishing, but at sea, believes that the Virgen del Carmen gives strength to her devotees, especially those who entrust themselves to her every time they go out to fish.

L. Cádiz
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“I have fished in Morocco, in Cape Verde, in Angola, in Guinea... because here there was only hunger, there was no life. At that time, 500 people lived in Los Boliches and in the whole of Fuengirola there were about 2,000 people. In order to live, we only had two options: the countryside or the sea, and if one was bad, the other was bad,” he said.

In the 1960s tourists began to arrive and everything changed, transforming the coast into what it is today.

“The construction boom started and I moved into construction and I worked there until the first economic crisis hit. At that time, I left construction and opened a fish shop, and that was my way of life until I retired,” he concluded.

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