Choppy Seas For Tenerife Fishermen

Battered by the elements, restricted by politicians quotas, and now hit by the recession, these are difficult days for the fishermen of Tenerife. Tradition is being eroded as ports and marinas look for boats with more profitable cargos suh as pleasure craft.

Los Cristianos is feeling the pinch more than most, the Cofradia, fishermens association is fighting for survival with outstanding collective debts of 40,000 euros for mooring and the facilities they use to land and package their catch. The latest meeting this week with local port officials and politicians ended in a tense stand off. At the same time the traditional landing point between the old beach and the ferry port has been undergoing an expensive facelift with new pontoons filling the area. Some moorings are now in use but the official inauguration has yet to take place and the petrol pumps are still covered.

Further around the coast in El Medano the small concrete mooring area at Playa Chica is being cleared, 17 boats will see their three months notice run out at the end of February. The area just behind the bus stops is to become a “solarium” surely the sandy beaches and dunes are ample tanning grounds as it is? Then there is Las Galletas where the fishermen are refusing to move into their custom built area La Lonja (below) preferring to wash, gut, and sell their daily catch where the public can see them in the old wooden stalls which are at the roadside.

The new marina was opened in March 2008 but neither the fishermen or the Policia Local have taken up residence in their new modern home. The fishermen say they were promised that their new vending point would be a lot nearer the passing public than it has turned out to be, this is another dispute that will roll on. Long before tourism gave the south of Tenerife a new income, fishing has been a way of life for generations eating at the many local fish restaurants it’s always good to know that the food was locally caught. Hopefully progress and financial pressures can be balanced off against tradition and identity, otherwise we may as well pave the whole coast and put up a parking lot.