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The “Pata Negra” of the sea

Earlier this year I travelled to the coast of Andalucía on a pilgrimage to find the best tuna in the world at the festival of Almadraba bluefin tuna. After the first full moon in May, the fishermen set up a complicated labyrinth of nets, which catch the tuna as they migrate from the Atlantic to warmer Mediterranean waters to spawn. Apparently, their fat reserves keep them warm through the winter meaning the fish are succulent and full-flavoured. The fish swim through different compartments of the nets until they reach the final area, locked in by the fisherman’s boats, which form a ring around the net. Next comes the most dramatic and breathtaking part of the process, ‘la levanta’, in which the burly fishermen hoist up the net and select the biggest fish, with some weighing more than 500 kilos. The Almadraba fishing system – meaning ‘to strike’ in Arabic – has been praised for its sustainability as there is no overfishing with a strict quota that the fishermen cannot exceed. This anci…

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