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Fish and fishing

Pesce e itticoltura

Fish and fishing
Place of production
Mussels and oysters are farmed in the Gulf of La Spezia, in the stretch of water between the Cinque Terre National Park and the Montemarcello-Magra Regional Nature Park, commonly called the Gulf of Poets.
Anchovies are fished a short distance from the shore all along the coast, while prawns are caught at Santa Margherita Ligure (Genoa).
Along the east Ligurian Riviera, there are two sites for farming sea bass and sea bream, at Portovenere (La Spezia) and Lavagna (Genoa).

Product description
The mussel is a bivalve mollusc, elongated in shape and with a purple-black shell; the two valves are rounded, almost triangular in shape. The mussel's body is soft; male specimens are yellowish-white, while females are yellow-orange. It feeds on plankton and lives on rocks, attaching itself with byssal threads, horny filaments secreted from the side of the animal's valves which prevent it from being swept away by the sea. They are sold fresh, packaged in plastic net bags and carrying a health mark, as well as preserved in oil.
Farmed oysters are also sold fresh, and are packaged in traditional wooden crates.
The most widespread variety on the east Ligurian Riviera is bluefish, and especially anchovies, which are caught and sold fresh or salted in glass jars.

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History / Traditions / Interesting Facts
In Liguria, mussels are known as 'muscoli'. Mussel farming in La Spezia started around the year 1887. Oyster farms are made of poles, driven into the seabed about 5 m apart, rising up for about a metre and a half above the surface, hence the term "vineyards of the sea'.
Reviving a tradition that began at the end of the 19th century but was abandoned in the 1950s, oyster farming has begun in earnest again in recent years. Small and tasty, and very different from French oysters, which are larger and sweeter, oysters from La Spezia have a particularly iodised and lingering taste.
Anchovies are caught with purse seine nets called 'lampare'. Anchovies from the Ligurian Sea, preserved in salt, have received EU recognition under the IGP 'Acciughe sotto sale del Mar Ligure', with the entire coastal region of Liguria involved in their production. They are sold in characteristic glass jars called 'arbanelle'.
The region's fishing activities are closely related to the fishing tradition of Liguria's coastal communities. Mention of them is first made in the statutes of Liguria's coastal cities in medieval times. Subsequently, in the late Middle Ages, this type of product starts to be used as a trade commodity in exchanges with the Piedmont region. From the 16th century, the same statutes were enriched with rules and regulations governing the fishing, processing, and sale of anchovies, both as a fresh product and preserved in salt. A tax named 'la gabella piscium' dates back to the same period. It was introduced by the Republic of Genoa to control the supply and sale of fish. Anchovy traders, known as 'acciugai', have, for the most part, carried out their trade using traditional methods, handed down from generation to generation, though a special licence was required in order to salt and sell the fish.
Contact information 
Mitilicoltori Spezzini soc. coop.
Federico Pinza  – T +39 0187 970210, +39 3357567340 –
Cooperativa Piccola Pesca Monterosso al Mare
Beppe Martelli  – T +39 0187 817053, +39 335 5396148 –
News and events
Mytiliade – Mediterranean mussel festival in September – Lerici (La Spezia) – Traditional cultural and gastronomic event dedicated to mussels. The programme includes gastronomic workshops, presentations and displays.
Fish and fishing
Place of production
Adriatic Sea
Product description
The name "oily fish" does not refer to a scientifically defined group of fish species, but is used as a commercial description for certain varieties of fish, generally small in size but in a range of shapes and colours (sardines, anchovies, mackerel, garfish etc.). Oily fish, which is renowned for its nutritional value, ease of digestibility and high unsaturated fat content, can be used in countless recipes from the regional culinary tradition.

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History / Traditions / Interesting Facts
The fat of oily fish is similar to vegetable fat in that it consists mainly of unsaturated compounds, particularly Omega-3, which is important for brain development and heart and artery protectors. The fats of land animals lack this element, being richer in saturated compounds. If consumed in excess, they may accelerate the onset of certain diseases, which are often the result of a sedentary lifestyle and poorly balanced, calorie and cholesterol-heavy diet. A further reason to get more oily fish into our diets.
Contact information
Region of Marche Programme for Tourism
Via Gentile da Fabriano, 9  - Ancona
T +39 071 806 2431
F +39 071 806 2154
For more information
News and events
Anghiò - Oily Fish Festival
San Benedetto del Tronto  –  3-12 luglio
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