1902 Encyclopedia > Italy > Fisheries

(Part 12)



Fisheries.—As the coast-line of Italy extends to about 3937 miles (of which 1048 belong to the islands), the prosecution of the fisheries in the neighbouring seas is carried on from a great many points. The following table (XIX.) gives the principal statistics of date 1879, for the various " compartimenti" or districts into which the coast is usually divided:—

== TABLE ==

To complete the total for Trapani, it is necessary to add 26 boats with 471 hands, which are employed in the sponge fishery off Tunis. For I taly, as for the other Mediterranean nations, the tunny fishing is of considerable moment. The more important stations are those in Sicily, Sardinia, and Elba. Apart from local consumption the annual value of the Sardinian fishery is estimated at 4,000,000 lire, and that of Sicily at about half as much.

The anchovy and sardine fisheries are carried on by Italian boats, not only on the Ligurian and Tuscan coasts, but on those of France, Spain, Barbary, Dalmatia, and Istria. Among the stations which take au active sbare in this department are Sestri and Riva, Cecina andCastiglione, Porto Ercole, Porto Longone in Elba, Ancona, and Chioggia. The success of the fishermen is now seldom so great as it was before 1868 ; and 2 lire per day is the most that can be gained in the best months at the better stations. The annual value of the sardines brought to Terracina is stated at 6300 lire, and that of the anchovies at 7000 ; and the corresponding figures for Porto d'Anzio and Palermo are respectively 98,000 and 32,000 lire, 200,000 and 400,000. Civita Vecchia has a total for the two kinds of 15,000 lire.

Sword-fish (Xiphias gladius) are not only constantly caught in the nets of the tunny-fishers, but from time immemorial have been the object of special pursuit, the weapon mainly used against them being a species of harpoon or draffineria. As many as fifty fish may be caught in a single day off the coast of Sicily, and twenty off the coasts of Calabria. Each fish weighs on an average from 220 to 440 lb ; and the quantity captured in the season in the two districts indicated may amount to 308,000 lb.

Coral is obtained in various parts of the Italian waters, more especially in the neighbourhood of the island of Elba and the Gulf of Naples, and the Italian coral fishers extend their voyages to the African coast and the islands of Cape Verd. In 1869 it was stated that upwards of 400 vessels, of 2712 tons total burden, were employed in the department, by far the greater proportion of them belonging to Torre del Greco. The statistics given in Table XIX. show but little change. The hardships endured by the more adventurous fishers are extremely severe, and the gain is comparatively slight. (Compare Green's Stray Studies, 1879, for a description of the coral fishers of Capri.)

Of special importance are the lagoon fisheries of Orbetello, of tha Mare Piccolo of Taranto, the Lago Verzimino or Salpi, and the Lago di Varano, and more particularly of Comacchio. Eels, soles, mullets, and various other kinds of fish are there obtained in enormous quantities.

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