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A  Tradition Endangered- But the Show Must Go On                                born. Spataro sided with Castiglione to become Bonagfa's rais. The
                                                                                                    men went ahead without him. To keep the mattanza alive, the ton-
                        Over the past few decades, Favignana tuna yields have been de-              naroti formed a cooperative (Cooperativa La Mattanza) in 1997. They
                    clining more and more, first amounting to hundreds instead of thou-             leased the tonnara directly from its owner, Luigi Parodi, splitting the
                    sands and then to dozens rather than hundreds of specimens. The                 profits while they became financially responsible. Many put in their
                    tuna that were stili caught were usually smaller in size than they              own savings to continue the tradition. With the help of veteran fish-
                    used to be, and reguired four men for the medium-sized tuna and                 ermen an d an old rais, they restored the nets an d wooden boats t ha t
                    two men for the smaller onesto gaff and lift aboard. The Favignana              had been sitting idly in the Camparia fora long rime. They elected a
                    tuna fishermen thus faced the conseguences of the intensified tuna              new rais and head of the cooperative, Gioacchino Cataldo, an experi-
                    hunts to which I have alluded above. With catches declining, i t has            enced tonnaroto who was educateci  by rais  Gioacchino Hernandes.
                    become harder and harder to get returns on investments. Given the               Cataldo became a tireless promoter of the tonnara's interests. But
                    slowness of the operation, the traditional eguipment and the meagre             when ali expenses were paid for, little was left to pay for the men's
                    catches, the costs of labour are prohibitively high. The ciurma work            wages. Many experienced men began to leave to find more secure
                    force has been reduced from hundred men to eighty, then to sixty-               jobs. Inexperienced youngsters took their places. They lacked the
                    three and now to fifty.  In the second half of the 1980s, there were            knowledge and skills reguired to make the operation a success. Says
                    still some good catches and the Japanese paid handsome prices for               Nati, one of the boat captains: 'All these young kids are coming in
                    tuna. A new rais, Salvatore Spataro, could convince the lessee of the           because they bave nothing else to do. They take i t like a summer job,
                    tonnara, Franco Castiglione, to invest in new nylon nets (the old ones          i t all ends there- there is no desire to learn how to continue- so I
                    were made of sisal and coconut fibre), plastic floats, new cables and           don' t  see a future- we'll see  the end of this tradition- unfortu-
                    chains and steel boats. In part, the new eguipment enabled working              nately.'23 Despite subsidies from the nation, provincia! and local gov-
                    with fewer men. For example, wooden boats and sisal nets had to be              ernmenrs,  the  cooperative  remained  in  debt.  There  was  'great
                    repaired and maintained during the winter- work that was do ne by               disquiet and anxiety as to the future ofFavignana' (Singer 1999:65)
                    ten to twelve men, and nets of natural fibres had to be pulled by               and dissension concerning the role and management of the coopera-
                    more men than nylon ones. The modernisation was not to the liking               tive, as well. The tonnaroti were desperarely looking for options to get
                    of ali. In wryly contemplating the end of the mattanza, former rais             out of their dire straits.
                    Gioacchino Ernandes said: The fishermen today don' t feellove for                  Somewhat surprisingly, the mattanza tradition has not met with
                    their work, for the Mattanza. Before it was a cultura! fact, it was a           widespread (international) opposition by animai right activists, en-
                    tradition. Buti t was also an "amusement", even if the work was clone           vironmentalist movements or the public at large. As we bave seen,
                    by hand. Now everything is mechanized. I think the Tonnara will not             the tuna are under serious threat of depletion. In addition, they are
                    continue much longer' (quoted in Singer 1999:65). At that rime, the            gaffed in public view and the killing involves dose contact between
                    tonnaroti earned about US$ 3,50 a day during the three-month sea-              man and animai in a bloody frenzy. This could easily attract media
                    son, plus a bonus of 30 cenrs per fish landed and extras if they were           attention and in its wake public outcries of disgust. But news reports
                    boat captains. There were already negotiations to obtain subsidies              usually paint a favourable picture of the event, emphasising man's
                    from the regional government to maintain the tonnara as cultura!                fight with nature and the antiguity of the accompanying rituals. The
                    heritage. In 1996, Castiglione decided to calli t a day and took rhe            tuna kill is said to be cruel yet does not arouse much protest. Perhàps
                    modern eguipment he owned with him to his Bonagfa tonnara. The
                    Favignana tonnaroti feared for their livelihoods and proposed to rais
                    Spataro to lease the rights themselves. He refused and a conflict was              23   Transcription of interview for Tonnara (Hope 2002).
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