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1634-1813 and  1878-1960, the median annual catch was  1,958                   the cannery, tuna fìshing continued to be of considerable local impor-
                 tuna, showing highs in the 1880 to 1930 period, when median per                 tance. The owner of the tuna trap, Luigi Parodi, leased i t to an entre-
                 year  catches  amounted  to  5,200  tuna  (Ravier  and  Fromentin               preneur from nearby Trapani, Franco Castiglione, who transported
                 200 l: 1304, 1308).                                                             the tuna to his slaughterhouse there, where the fìsh,were weighed
                     Vincenzo Florio, who had made his wealth with the production                an d cut up by] apanese specialists an d then flown t o the Tokyo fìsh
                 and export of Marsala wine and in the world of fìnance, leased severa!          market.
                 tonnare as of 1827, including Favignana' s.  'Florio streamlined ma-
                 neuvers, redesigned the traps, and sometimes changed their place-               The Ritual Slaughter ofTuna
                 ment at sea' (Maggio 2000:60). His improvements led to growing
                 catches. Nonetheless, Florio did not renew his lease in 1859, but in                The complex and rimai method of catching mna follows very
                  1874, his son Ignazio Florio bought the Egadi Islands, including the           precise rules, timings and strictly disciplined practices. It requires a
                 tonnara ofFavignana. Under his entrepreneurial guidance, the ton-               highly specialised divisi o n of labour w h ere every crewmember carri es
                 nara continued to flourish. Its record catch of 1878 was 10,159 mna.            out specifìc tasks. The mode of production has a hierarchical social
                 Ignazio Florio established a large tuna cannery (like the netted walls          strucrure. The concluding act of trapping the tuna is known as la
                 called tonnara) on Favignana, providing work for the entire island              mattanza, a term deriving from the Latin mactare, meaning to slaugh-
                 community. Florio had a famous Sicilian architect design the build-             ter, immolate or honour. Working towards the catharsis of la mat-
                 ing and a new wharf, the Camparia, as well. The tonnara used to be              tanza requires the team effort of scores of fìshermen over a peri od of
                 an integrai part of the fabric of locallife, calling on the enti re com-        t h ree months un der the leadershi p of the rais, the head or chief fìsh-
                 munity, not just on the fìshermen. The fìshermen and many male                  erman.  H e coordinates an d oversees the work of the gang or crew
                 and female labourers worked for the canning factory. Tuna was bled,             (ciurma)  of tonnaroti  (the tuna fìshermen).  The rais  has  two 'lieu-
                 cooked and preserved in olive oil, canned and exported. When i t was            tenants', capoguardia, with whom he may consult as regards certain
                 no t mna season, the cannery processed and packed sardines and other            decisions. They act as his confìdants. Under them are the six boat
                 fìsh Sicilian fìshermen landed. Florio was an enlightened entrepre-             captains who direct their own crews. There is also a special position
                 neur who established a nursery and a playground in his factory. The             for the SCUBA diver who inspects the chambers for holes that have
                 Favignana islanders loved their wealthy patron and raised a stame for           to be repaired. He also removes fish that are entangled in the nets
                 him. The mna fìshery was the mainstay of the local economy, and the             lest they rot.
                 money made with it would feed many fìshermen's families for over                    The rais is the undisputed leader of the whole operation. He de-
                 half the year. But Ignazio's son, Vincenzo (named after his grandfa-            cides when, where and how to set and manage the tuna trap, and co-
                 ther), had to sell the tonnara to their business partners, the Parodi
                 family, in the late 1930s.
                     Fora long rime in the twentieth century, many locals - women
                                                                                                     6  Mattanza has found its way into the Italian vernacular as a synonym for
                 included (they were involved in making and mending the nets)-
                                                                                                 'massacre'. The French term for mattanza- or, more precisely, the tuna trap-
                 continued to depend on work in the runa factory, where the fìsh was
                                                                                                 is madrague, in Portuguese i t is marar;oes,  in Spanish almadraba. Serge Collet
                 preserved in olive oil. The fìshermen worked for the tonnara factory,
                                                                                                 suggested to me that this is related to Arabic: al mazraba and zrb, meaning clo-
                 but due to diminishing catches, it was closed in 1981  and conse-               sure.
                 quently many of the hundreds of workers became unemployed and
                                                                                                     7  The term rais is Arabi c in origin. The mattanza tec:hnique became pop-
                 the mna killing tradition was endangered. The building still is tes-
                                                                                                 ular in the ninth century during the Arab domination ofSicily (although it is
                 timony to the tuna fìshery's important legacy. Despite the closure of           possibly much older).
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