How coral is collected

09-02-2021
How coral is collected Over the years the Coral fishing has undergone drastic changes in response to the rules that have made this practice completely sustainable.
The first evidence of coral fishing and harvesting in Torre del Greco dates back to the fifteenth century.
The town's fishermen moved around the Mediterranean, making coral fishing the town's main activity, although it was not very profitable. In our post about the coral of Torre Del Greco we have already seen the evolution that added coral processing in the city to fishing.
 

The method of coral fishing and harvesting of the past


For centuries, the “ingegno” has been used for coral fishing, otherwise also known as the "croce dei corallari". It was a St. Andrew's cross, made up of two sturdy wooden beams made heavier by large stones. On its arms, at different distances to the end, bunches of old hemp nets were left hanging. The instrument was lowered from the large boat and fitted with a Latin sail.
The ingegno was dragged to the seabed, reaching and exceeding 150 meters in depth. The nets ended up getting entangled in the coral formations, thus allowing the coral branches that remained entangled in the net to be uprooted.
This method has been used for several years, especially in the Mediterranean Sea. Although it was a rather invasive practice, the Mediterranean area is still rich in coral today.
 

A collection towards sustainability


Coral fishing has changed considerably since the 1980s. A legislative intervention banned fishing with ingegno: the first step that started a profound change for the world of coral fishing. It is on that occasion that we officially switch from coral fishing to coral harvesting. Fishermen begin to use a tool that allows selective harvesting, and all coral fishermen were transformed into professional divers.
January 2, 2019 is an important date for our sector and for companies, which like ours have fought for more sustainable coral fishing. The first national law has been approved, which regulates coral harvesting in Italy. Before this law was promulgated, each region respected its own directives.
 

Selective and traceable fishing


The new coral harvesting method has four main characteristics:
  • selective fishing: divers dive with hammer and ice ax to collect coral and the collection is allowed only to professional divers;
  • limited number of licenses:each year licenses are issued with a limited number, depending on the season;
  • minimum size: only colonies with a minimum base size of no less than 7 mm can be collected, with a tolerance margin of 10%;
  • traceability: with the latest rule of January 2019, divers must report the geographical coordinates of the place where the coral was collected, both in the registers to be deposited at the harbor master's office and on the sales invoice.

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