Tuna fishing

Tuna fishing in Zahara de los Atunes, Spain

Traditional tuna fishing of the Almadraba

Zahara de los Atunes got its name not without reason, because long time before tourism has arrived in this part of Spain, tuna fishing was the major source of income of the entire region.

Every year around march the tunas travel the same journey from the cold north Atlantic into the Mediterranean sea to spawn there. On their way they have to pass the coast line of Zahara de los AtunesConil de la FronteraBarbate and Tarifa.

Now is the time when the Almadraba, the traditional method of tuna fishing for hundreds of years, begins their work. By the time when the Romans were settled here, they already used the same technique.

The name "Almadraba" is arabic and means "place of killing".

In fact, the up to 600kg heavy tunas are being caught by hand with huge nets.

These nets are being set close to the shore where the travel route of the tunas comes along. There must be no stones or reefs on the bottom of the sea, so nets cannot get demaged or stuck. This is another reason why Zahara, Conil and Tarifa provide perfect conditions for the Almadraba.

As soon as the tunas arrive in the bay, the nets will be pulled in from four boats building a circle between the boats where the huge tunas can be killed and pulled in.

This spectacular event unfortunately doesn't permit any spectators as the boats have no space being filled with tunas on their way back to the port.


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