The fishing corals at Chipiona provide a very simple and
indeed easy way to fish. They consist of artificial traps built
with oyster stone walls. These are stone walls built over stone
platforms. Over time the walls accrete a covering of crustacea,
The system works with disarming simplicity. As the tide comes
in, the sea level rises above the top of the walls and fish and
shellfish drift in. Many are caught within the walls as the tide
retreats. Along the walls there are pipes covered with grills to
let the water out but not the fish.
The guide books claim these corals date back to Carthaginian
times. I suppose this is possible, as Cadiz was certainly either
inhabited by the Carthaginians or maybe even first populated by
them three thousand years ago. In fact Cadiz is one of the
oldest cities in Europe.
However, the first written evidence of these corals is from
1399. They were rebuilt after being destroyed as part of the
fallout from the Lisbon earthquake of 1755.
Each of the corals is maintained by a ‘catador’. It is his right
to have the first sampling of the day’s catch. When he has taken
all he needs the rest of the fish and shellfish gatherers may go
into the corals and scoop up what they may.