My Life at Sea

by firmm Team

Text: Eduardo Montana Peralta

My life at sea began when I was still very young, in 1990. At that time I started to work as a sea bream fisherman, since there were only a limited selection of jobs in Tarifa. Either you worked on land or at sea and I belong to a humble and hard working family of seamen, who know how to value what little we have.

I worked there for 5 years, but the fishing sector wasn’t doing well at that time. There were only a few ships which landed often enough to be able to pay their crew a decent salary. Since I belonged to the few lucky ones, I was able to do advanced sailor training courses, hoping to switch one day to another line of seafaring.

In 1995 my father had to retire due to health problems. He was working at the “Almadraba” and as the tradition has it, I inherited his place. So the same year I began to earn my money by catching the bluefin tuna. In the end I worked here until 2008.

During this time I was promoted starting as a simple sailor to a deckhand and finally the fishhauler on the boat „Barco de canto”.

The “Almadrabas” are placed in the sea with following gear: anchor, buoys, nets, chains, steel cable, etc . The right ships and a well trained and careful crew are necessary to perform this type of fishing.

Anker Bugmatrose

“Almadrabas” are typical for the coast cities in the south of Spain: Barbate, Zahara,de los Atunes, Tarifa, Conil, etc.

The fishing season of the “Almadrabas” begins in spring. At this time a labyrinth of nets is constructed near the shoreline in the migrating path of the tuna fish. In this type of cage, the fish are led into the middle of the net, an area which is also closable at the bottom, so the fish can be pulled up. As soon as the animals are encircled the “levantá” starts; the lifting of the tuna fish.

levantá Einmitten der Tiere

The net is manually brought to the water surface and each bluefin tuna is dragged onto the boat with a grappling hook. One by one they are lifted on to the ship, each of the tunas weighing several hundred kilos and armed with razor-sharp fins.

Hochziehen der Netze Eduardo Fischraufholer

Rote Thunfische beim Verladen auf die japanische Fischfangfabrik 2–3 Meter Rote Thunfische

In August 2008 I was offered to work for the foundation firmm as a seaman to help on the ships during the whale watching excursions. I worked there for three months and enjoyed the time as a very pleasant experience.

But the biggest pleasure came in April 2009 when Katharina Heyer held out the prospect for me to become a permanent member of the firmm crew. I didn’t have to think twice about this and immediately took leave from the work at the “Almadrabas” and totally devoted myself to the work at the foundation. Today I see the sea with different eyes, I do not feel any remorse about the decision I made and&60; I’m happy in every aspect of my life.

Eduardo auf firmm Boot

I will always be grateful for the opportunity that was offered to me at that time.


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