Forecasts for this Summer are that 300,000 Italian vacationers will take to the sea for a day, or even longer, of fishing on old-style, commercial fishing boats. If these numbers are realized, they will confirm the continuing rise in popularity of fishing-related holidays.
In 1999, only about 120,000 Italians chose to take a fishing holiday, and four years before that the numbers were just in the hundreds.
A fishing trip usually consists of a sort of internship on a boat, in which one learns from the fishermen how to perform a range of tasks, including fishing, mending nets, sluicing down the decks, and gutting fish. The day usually ends with fishermen and vacationers dining together on the picks of the day’s catch.
This type of holiday appeals mostly to city dwellers in their 30’s and 40’s, who are interested in the environment and organic food, and who are looking for a way to enjoy the sea without having to deal with overcrowded beaches.
A day on a traditional fishing boat costs between 30 and 50 euro a person. There are over 800 fishing cooperatives that offer such excursions.
Environmental group Legambiente presented this information at a recent national parks fair in Rome. The group is promoting Pescaturismo because it is carried out by environmentally-conscious, small-scale fishing companies whose methods do not destroy marine habitats like industrial trawlers do. It is also a source of income for these small-scale fishermen who would otherwise be unable to compete with larger, industrial fishing companies.