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spot shoals of tuna that are subsequently scooped up by industriai              photographed and filmed numerous times. Favignana;s tonnara is a
                 fishing fleets. Bluefin tuna are consequently diminishing in numbers            sophisticated trap system consisting of kilometres of netted walls de-
                 and size and have been considered overexploited since 1982.                     signed and positioned to deflect tuna migrating along the coast. The
                     Tuna stocks are most threatened in the Mediterranean, where                 trap comprises kilometres of steel cable, more than four hundred iron
                 about twenty per cent of the world's dwindling supply is  caught.               anchors weighing from six-hundred to four-thousand pounds, more
                 Bluefin tuna are commercially highly valuable. Most tuna caught in              than 3,500 stone weights of forty pounds each, and enormous nets of
                 the Mediterranean are packed in ice and flown directly to Tokyo's               nylon or coconut fibre. The nets are anchored parallel to the coast, are
                 Tsukiji fish market, where individuai giants may fetch extremely                gradually restricted in size, and raised towards the surface. The ton-
                 high prices of over US$ 100.000. Consumer appetite for sushi and                nara's two kilometres-long wings guide the tuna to the entrance or
                 sashimi seems insatiable. The scarcity ofbluefin tuna has prompted              'mouth' of the trap. A series of six successive chambers with distinct
                 legai restrictions. The International Commission for the Conserva-              names, each divided by a net gate, lead to the final seventh chamber,
                 tion of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) regulates the fishery (Block et al.              la camera della morte, 'the chamber of death'. The fishermen herd the
                 2001). It has developed a management regime for the eastern bluefin             tuna from one chamber to the next; lowering the dividing net once
                 tuna stock based on a Total Allowable Catch, with quotas being allo-            the tuna have passed through (Pitcher 2001:603).
                 cateci on a state-by-state basis. This makes bluefin tuna the only fish             For hundreds of years, the local fishermen have been using a ton-
                 resource in the Mediterranean managed through quota regulations.                nara to capture bluefin tuna (cf. Collet 1987; Maggio 2000; Ravier
                 However, the efficiency of the bluefin tuna management regime is                and Fromentin 2001). Arabs founded Favignana's tonnara in 807
                 limited, mainly due to the lack ofExclusive Economie Zones (EEZs)               A.D., though they may have found a trap already in place. Sicily's
                 in the Mediterranean and the related problems of enforcing legisla-             first King claimed the tonnara for the crown in the 11 rh century but
                 tion in international waters.                                                   often leased it to generate income (Maggio 2000:57). Parts of the sea
                     One of the very few places where the traditional tuna trap fish-            were appropriateci as private property and a feudal mode of produc-
                 eries have survived so far is Favignana, a tiny (19 square kilometres)          tion carne about (Collet 1987 :46). Medieval ton naro ti worked fora
                 island offSicily's west coast. It is a close-knit community with ap-            wage specified in a seasonal contract and received a percentage of the
                 proximately 3,200 inhabitants, most of whom live in Favignana                   tuna and other fish inadvertently trapped (Maggio 2000:58). In Me-
                 città, the island's port town. Favignana is often referred to as La Far-        dieval times, the tuna traps ofFavignana and elsewhere on Sicily con-
                 falla on account of its shape that resembles a butterfly <farfalla) a-          trìbuted considerably to economie life. In the 12rh and 13'h centuries,
                 flutter.  Its  western  wing  is  dominateci  by  the  300  metres  high        Favignana's tonnara 'présente les traits d'une protoindustrialisation
                 Montagna Grossa with the fort Santa Caterina on top. Its eastern                de type capitaliste, fonctionnant avec un important capi tal productif,
                 wing is much flatter. Here, tufa stone used to be quarried. Favignana           un système de rénumération précocement monétarisé. Le production
                 is o ne of the three Egadi Islands ( the other ones being Levanzo an d          est tournée vers le marché, vers les marches urbains se trouvant à
                 Marettimo) and today i t is a popular tourist resort, not least for its         grande distance' (Collet 1987:46). Catch records go back to as early
                 specific ways of tuna fishing which have been watched, described,               as 15 99. In the seventeenth century, Favignana' s tonnara had a repu-
                                                                                                 tation ofbeing the 'queen' of the Mediterranean tuna traps. Between

                     4  The tradition also exists in Bonagfa, Sicily (cf. Ravazza 1999). Until re-
                 cently,  it was  also  extant  in  Portoscuso  and  Carloforte  (Sardinia)  and  in   5  The barrier nets or wings also have distinct names: la coda and la costa.
                 Camogli (Norrhern Italy). Outside Italy, there are still traditional tuna traps   The names of the chambers are levante, camera grande, bordonaia, bastardo, ca-
                 in Spain (2), Croatia (2), Libya (2), Tunisia (2) and Morocco (1).              mera, bastardella, and finally camera della morte (Maggio 2000: 129-130).

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