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Grosseto and Maremma box: Fishers from Orbetello

The thread that unites the Orbetello lagoon with this fishing cooperative, founded in 1943 by fishermen who preserve the ancient techniques of fish preservation, is now more solid than ever. Fishing in an enclosed environment such as the lagoon has made it necessary to organize responsible and sustainable fishing, which takes into account the balance of the biomarine system and which places at the center of its activity the idea of guaranteeing a fresh product.

Just beyond the bridge that separates the Argentario from the mainland, in a fishpond that includes extensive and intensive breeding, the fish are selected through a series of grids of various sizes, which allow the different sizes to be separated. At the cooperative’s headquarters in Orbetello, right in front of the lagoon, Sergio tells us how it all began. The old custom of going out to sea on one’s own, spending many hours if not entire days in a boat in search of fish, was surpassed by the initiative of a few fishermen who created a union of forces, being able to count on greater energy and investment to optimize fishing times. This is how the cooperative of Orbetello fishermen was born. The techniques of processing and preserving fish are those inherited from the Spanish, when Orbetello was the capital of the State of the Presidi, but already in 1100 in some municipal documents the absolute uniqueness of the bottarga and the mullet of the lagoon was mentioned. How strong is the bond between the community of fishermen, quantifiable in about two hundred families, and the lagoon territory is reiterated by Sergio at every good opportunity, stating that there is only one family in Orbetello, one big family, that of fishermen and its people.