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that  the high costs of this type of fishing led  to the  creation of  innovative  companies  of
                shareholders (caratari) that contributed capital in predetermined fixed shares (carati).
                       Referring  to the archival material,  including the  most reliable authors and  the rich
                historical cartography available regarding the tonnara sites built in Sicily from the Middle

                Ages until the end of the 19  century, one finds no less than 85  place-names corresponding
                to both large and small fishing complexes. For some, only the name remains, making them
                almost impossible to locate, while for others, it is possible to trace the decline in production

                and eventual abandonment of the structure. Between the 11   and 12   centuries 6  active
                tonnare can be documented. A century later, the notary sources reported another 15 tonnare,
                and by the 1400’s  there were at least 39 active.  At the end of the 18  century, the Marquis
                of Villabianca counted 71 sites of which only 9 – according to an optimistic estimate – were
                considered inactive or abandoned.  In the end,  a government commissioned report on the
                Italian tonnare by Pietro Pavesi – completed in May 1886 – found only 21 active fishing sites
                left in Sicily.
                       Today, regardless of the uncertain future of tuna fishing in the Mediterranean  – now

                mostly  carried out by  modern  fishing fleets  –  there is a  pressing need to  involve local
                communities, researchers and specialists in the preservation of this productive preindustrial

                microcosm. Clearly, traditional tuna fishing has entered a final decline in Sicily, thus making
                the preservation of the architectural heritage of the Sicilian tonnare all the more urgent.

                       The so-called politics of “cultural heritage preservation” appear increasingly similar
                to simple declarations of intent unsupported by rigorous scientific programmes and effective

                strategies,  and usually  end up considering the issue exclusively  in terms of  financial

                feasibility.  The problem, however,  is  to  repair the damage due to the  loss of collective
                memory, neglect, speculation and uncontrolled development along the coasts. Furthermore, a

                community  lucky enough to have such historic sites  in  its territory  must know  how to

            11  R. Lentini, “Economia e storia delle tonnare di Sicilia” cit..
            12  H. Bresc, Un monde méditerranéen. Économie et société en Sicile 1300-1450, Accademia delle Scienze, Lettere e
            Arti, Palermo 1986, tomo I, pp. 261-273; G.L. de Barberis, Liber de Secretiis, edited by E. Mazzarese Fardella, Giuffrè,
            Milano, 1986; C. Camiliani, “Descrittione delle  marine  del Regno di Sicilia”, in M. Scarlata,  L’opera di Camillo
            Camiliani cit., p. 640.  A. I. Amico di Castellalfero, “Relazione istoriografica delle città, castelli, forti e torri esistenti
            ne’ litorali del Regno di Sicilia”, in S. Di Matteo (edited by), Sicilia 1713. Relazioni per Vittorio Amedeo di Savoia,
            Fondazione Lauro Chiazzese, Palermo, 1994, p. 172.
            13  F. M. Emmanuele e Gaetani, marchese di Villabianca, “Le tonnare della Sicilia”, in Villabianca, Le tonnare della
            Sicilia, edited by Giovanni Marrone, Giada, Palermo, 1986,  pp. 35-101; G. B. Ghisio,  Nuova ed esatta carta
            corografica della Sicilia, Roma, 31 agosto 1779, cm. 154 x 130; F. C. D’Amico, Osservazioni pratiche intorno alla
            pesca, corso e camino dei tonni, Messina, 1816.
            14  P. Pavesi, “Relazione alla Commissione Reale per le Tonnare”, in Atti della Commissione per le Tonnare, Roma,
            1889, pp. 34-35 e 47-54. R. Sarà, “Una ricostruzione ragionata delle attività di pesca nella Sicilia dei secoli XIX e XX”,
            in M. Gangemi (edited by), Pesca e patrimonio industriale. Tecniche, strutture e organizzazione (Sicilia, Puglia, Malta
            e Dalmazia tra XIX e XX secolo), Cacucci, Bari, 2007, pp. 62-68.

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