The Tonnara of Pizzo

The sea of Pizzo has always been famous for its richness.
The news about tuna fishing along the coast date back to the second half of the 400 and the second half of the 500, when the duke of Monteleone was owner of the fishing rights of the trap in Bivona Marina. Although, the most important activity appeared to be the one in the trap of Pizzo, whose owner was the Gagliardi family.

Pizzo had essentially two traps: the first one was called “tonnara grande” or also “tonnara d’a Praja” and the other one was named “tonnara piccola” or “da Gurna”.
The techniques used were imported by the Arabs in the year 1000 and they were based on the static nature of the nets drowned in the sea, which prevented tunas to continue on their way, and therefore they were trapped in rooms built with rope nets or “gutamo”.
The traditional tuna trap was replaced with fishing fleets from other regions, equipped with newer gear such as sonars and radars, which helped them to discover the school of fish.

These new ships were called “tonnare volante” and they revolutionised the old methods of tuna fishing, which expected the surrounding of the school of fish that was suffocated. Therefore, it wasn’t the tuna who bumped into the trap but it was the man who hunted it.
The “tonnara di Pizzo” finished its activities in 1963, and it closed the hunting season with only 12 tunas, giving the green light to the new ships.