Ruta del Atún Tarifa 2019: Bluefin Tuna Take over

Martín Serrano · Photos: Fran Montes


VII Ruta del Atún Tarifa 2019: Bluefin tuna takes over Tarifa

A popular Spanish saying states that the grouper is to the sea what lamb is to the land (“De la mar el mero y de la tierra el cordero”). However, during the month of May, the almadrabas (tuna traps) take to the sea to catch tuna –more specifically, the bluefin tuna, which is the king of gastronomy and fisheries off the coast of Cadiz province.

Ruta del Atun Tarifa 2019: Reach Alcance

The “almadraberos” – tuna trappers – apply their craft on the coasts of Zahara, Conil, Barbate and Tarifa, where they catch this fish that is widely known as an authentic delicacy for the senses, and that feeds hundreds of families directly and indirectly. This practice of artisanal fishing dates back to the Phoenician period.

During May, tuna fish cross the Strait to spawn in the Mediterranean and then return to their natural habitats in the Atlantic much thinner. This is the best time for these spectacular catches which is carried out with the help of traditional nets.

Ruta del Atun Tarifa 2019: Reach Alcance

Practically all towns in which tuna is caught celebrate their respective routes at this time, with restaurants and bars competing to serve the tastiest tapas in a bid for prestige, and to win different competitions.

In Tarifa, the “VII Ruta del Atún” is celebrated from the 24th of May to the 2nd of June, with more than 52 establishments set to compete in cooking up this most original and tasty tapa.

This ancient city, situated in the southernmost point of Europe, and home to the closest port to Africa, boasts a tourism potential based on leisure, sightseeing, sporting and gastronomic activities.

Ruta del Atun Tarifa 2019: Reach Alcance

Now, it wants to promote tuna-related activities in a more effective way by joining the “ Ruta del Atún” project. This was presented and promoted by the Provincial Council and the IEDT (Institute of Employment and Socioeconomic and Technological Development) and aims to offer a route along coastal regions that are linked to bluefin tuna fishing.

The media had the opportunity to contemplate how cultural visits provide the ideal opportunity to show visitors the importance of tuna in the lives and history of these towns – save for a sailboat trip, which was cancelled due to inclement weather. Tarifa offered guided visits to the castle of Guzmán el Bueno and the ruins of Baelo Claudia in Bologna, a Roman city founded in the 2nd Century BC which achieved great economic and urban development.

Ruta del Atun Tarifa 2019: Reach Alcance

Its main industry was based on tuna fishing, using methods very similar to those of today, as well as commercialising a sauce known as “garum”, which was exported to the entire Roman Empire, enrichening its dishes with new flavours.

The visit included a tasting of tapas from last year’s Ruta del Atún in the Cabello, Demente, Ancla, Pasillo and Burgato restaurants.

The “ Ruta del Atún” is an international project co-financed by the European Union and aims to develop a transnational route for tourism linked to the sea and nautical activities. Tarifa wants to form a part of this route, given the important role bluefin tuna plays in many aspects of the lives of its people.

VII Ruta del Atún Tarifa 2019: Bluefin tuna takes over Tarifa

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