Eco-fishing in Tuscany.. and underwater art?

Fisherman Paolo Fanciulli has been actively trying to protect the marine environment along the coast of the Tuscan Maremma. His struggle is against trawler fishing, which involves dragging heavy nets along the seabed, capturing and destroying all forms of life.

One of the creative solutions he thought of was to sink hundreds of marble blocks into the sea. These blocks are characterized by having one or more holes where fish can hide, and by having some hooks that catch and tear open the illegal nets dropped on the seabed.

He is working on a project that would substitute these blocks with actual statues, which would also create a beautiful underwater art museum, where diving could be enjoyed with a unique twist.

Paolo acknowledges that there “needs to be a balance between profit and environmental protection”, as he and fellow fishermen earn a living from the sea. So he has developed the idea of fishing tourism (pescaturismo in Italian).

Eco-fishing tourism in Tuscany, by Alexandra Gómez

If you are ever in the area of Talamone, do not miss this original and unforgettable experience. It starts with a healthy Italian-style breakfast on Paolo’s boat, called Sirena (mermaid). Then you can enjoy some fishing in the intense blue Mediterranean waters. Paolo explains all the aspects of longline fishing, shows you how to manage the nets, and is your environmental guide throughout the tour.

The nets are collected on board, bringing bream, squid, scorpion fish and crabs, as well as some starfish that are always removed from the net and thrown back into the water. After a refreshing swim, it is time to enjoy the fresh fish on the boat, either raw or grilled!

Source: TuscanyciousPaolo’s website
Photo credits: Alexandra Gómez, Leila Firusbakht and Paolo Fanciulli

Watch this video by Deutsche Welle to see Paolo and his crew in action!

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