By Emily A. Francis
THE LONE FISHERMAN WHO CHOSEN TO TAKE ON THIS LIFE OF SETTING OUT TO SEA DAY AFTER DAY AND NIGHT AFTER NIGHT IS A MIGHTY CALLING
Though they usually are on the boat alone each day, they do not take on such a life career without the assistance of the whole family. The family business of fishing might be viewed as something of a dying breed, but it is not the case in the fishing villages along the Mediterranean. Specifically, in Marsaxlokk on the south end of the island of Malta.
There you will find rows upon rows of boats that fill that area of the sea. You will find large boats where groups of men go out for days at a time and catch the fish with large nets. There is comradery to be had while they float out past the 100-meter line into deeper waters. Dare I say, that along with hard work, there is great fun to be had on these fishing boats.
The lone fisherman that you will find along the coastline of the fishing villages, is something else entirely. They approach their way of life similar to the way a monk is committed to his practice; as a lifelong devotional practice. As a practice of servitude. Choosing a life of service or fishing requires a level of training and skill that is usually passed down only through the family lines learning from their fathers and grandfathers as a way of life.
I was fortunate to meet a family in the fishing village of Marsaxlokk in Malta where the father is still the fisherman and his children and grandchildren all assist in making his work maintain their family income. Vinunzio, a lifelong fisherman has his own Luzzu, the traditional fishing boat of Malta.
This boat, as all Luzzu boats are, is painted in the colors of red, blue, green, yellow and brown. The boats are adorned with an eye on each side of the boat at the front to protect the boat and the fisherman as they go out to sea. The lone fisherman leaves his house at 3:30 am to go out into the silent waters and catch the fish that his son and family will sell at the fish market that same morning. He travels out to about 60 meters from the shoreline (around 5 hours from shore).
What he catches will be the freshest that anyone can get as the fish will be caught within just a few hours from when they are served. This is why locals and tourists alike flock to the fish markets on Sunday mornings especially to get their hands on the fish that can’t even be compared to anywhere else in terms of freshness and quality.
Read the full article in Issue 22