Fishing Pens and Historic Site in Chipiona
The Chipiona fishing corrals or fishing pens form an original historical, cultural and landscape, that is inherited from an ancient Roman or Arab rural fishing culture. They act like giant traps that work with the tide – the fish swim over the wall at high tide and are then trapped at low tide and can be caught by men wading on foot in the shallow waters.
They are stone walls which stretch out to the sea from the coast in a semicircular shape of “ostionera” stones handcrafted, distributed along the coast. A corral consists of a wall, raised with large sea stones at the base and on the sides, and filled with rubble and gravel. The a mixture of oysters, limpets and rose hips grow on the stones and act as a “natural cement”. The corral has access to the sea through the pipes, passages of about 50 cm in diameter located at the base of the wall. The number of pipes is variable, but it is usually high (about 30 or 40 per pen) in order for the water to drain quickly in the emptying tide. They are covered with a grille to allow water through but no fish.
Each lagoon is known by fishermen with a different – Montijo’s Corrals, in the zone of the same name between Chipiona and Sanlúcar de Barrameda, those of La Longuera in El Muelle Beach, those of Trapillo, Cabito and Nuevo, in Las Canteras and those of Mariño, Canaleta , Chico and Hondo between Camarón and Las Tres Piedras Beaches.
A strict code of conduct ensures that fishing the ‘corrales de Chipiona’ remains sustainable and reserved for only a handful of registered fishermen, or ‘catchers’.