Just before the Spanish mainland ends and where the Mediterranean and the Atlantic meet, there is a small town called Tarifa, in the region of Andalusia. Through its unique location, across the Strait of Gibraltar facing Morocco, Tarifa offers a very different climate and character as the rest of Andalusia. Long white sandy beaches as well as a rough sea have established Tarifa as a true paradise for surfers. Moreover, the sea gives the possibility to cast a glance at the rich wildlife of Spain. Due to the comparatively small stretch of water, the concentration of whales are very high at the coast. But next to whale-watching there is another chance to experience the authentic sea life and the culture of Spain, called Almadraba.
A bit of history
Almadraba is a traditional fishing method, which has not changed over the last thousands years. It was used by the Phoenicians along the coasts of Cádiz and then later by the Romans. For this historic technique a labyrinth of nets is stretched along tuna roads, usually when they are crossing between the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean during February to July. It is a fixed gear of vertical nets marked at the Surface with floats and staked at the bottom of the sea with anchors attached to thousands of meters of steel rope. Once the fishes are inside this labyrinth there is no way of escaping. Traditionally, Almadrabas could be found everywhere along the provincial coast but these days they are concentrated in some small towns along the coast such as Tarifa. Each catching season is hard to predict, because it always depends on several factors, which are difficult to control. From the tunas own migration routes, to the occurrence of orcas up to the phases of the moon and many more but usually the Almadraba trapping event occurs between May and June.
The main reason for the decline of Almadraba in the last 20 years is the overfishing of the world`s oceans. Therefore, the haul of fish has dropped from 15 000 tons in 1945 to just 1 100 tons in 2006. The most important buyers are from Japan, who are buying 80 percent of the haul. Nevertheless, since the seventies the fishing has been economically replaced by tourism in Tarifa. As a hotspot for kite and windsurfers the small town at the southern tip of Spain is highly popular among tourists. Of course the fresh caught tuna can be found on a lot of menus. So do not miss to enjoy the rich and varied gastronomy in Tarifa after taking part at the Almadraba spectacle.
Just the beginning…
Next to the traditional tuna fishing event, Tarifa offers one of the best areas for sport fishing in Europe for all visitors, who always wanted to be tuna fishers themselves. Besides, Tarifa is also the best place for watching whales and dolphins. In the Strait of Gibraltar there are seven different species of cetaceans waiting to be explored.
If you are now want to experience Tarifa, its rich history and fabulous sea life please do not hesitate to contact us!