Sardine Fishing

A description of the traditional sardine fishing technique with shore seines and fishing lamps

The operation commenced when the “svićarica” ventured out to sea according to the “svićar’s” directions. Upon reaching the fishing grounds (a location known to him to be rich in fish), the “svićar” would light the fishing light. The fire needed to be kept burning for several hours until the “svićar” decided whether it was worth casting the net. The crew on the “leut” would wait nearby, anchored close to the shore. The “sligarica” would periodically visit the “svićarica” to relay the “svićar’s” decision to the crew on the “leut.” If the “svićar” uttered the phrase “bit će dobro, ako Bog da!” (it will be good, God willing!), it signaled satisfaction with the amount of fish attracted, and the action could continue. The “svićarica” would then move towards the shore with quiet strokes of the “šijavac” while the fish, lured by the light, followed. During this time, the crew on the “leut” would split into two groups – one would immediately disembark on the shore and take hold of one end of the net, while the other group would start circling the “svićarica” slowly lowering the net into the sea. Once they encircled the “svićarica” with the net, the remaining crew from the “leut” would also disembark and take hold of the other end of the net, and the “šijavac” would skilfully steer the “svićarica” out of the entangled area. All that remained was to pull the net with the fish ashore and distribute the catch. Approximately half of the catch belonged to the owner (or owners) of the fishing gear – net and boats, while the rest was distributed based on merit – the majority going to the “svićar,” “šijavac,” and “parun,” a smaller share to the fishermen who pulled the net, and the smallest share to the assisting fishermen. It is worth noting that, in Sućuraj, before World War II, there were 13 such shore seines for sardine fishing, and an interesting fact is that, in addition to men, women also commonly performed this job, which was not so common in other island and Dalmatian villages.

Općina Sućuraj © 2021. Sva prava pridržana

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