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    Responsibility and hope, fishing in Maristanis at the time of coronavirus

    “We are letting the pond breathe. All the barriers are open. We saw the mullets enter, especially at night and early in the morning, but it is difficult to say how much fish we will have this year, and when we will be able to resume entirely the activity", explains Alberto Porcu, president of the fishermen's cooperative Sant'Andrea of S'Ena Arrubia.

    Caution prevailed and the cooperative decided not to start fishing eels and crabs, as scheduled for April 1. "Too risky, we must first of all respect the government's decrees and protect our health", says Porcu. The fishermen of the S'Ena Arrubia pond are focusing on cleaning the grates, plumbing the bottom in search of sediments that could hinder the activity, when this will finally resume.

    Someone sporadically goes out to sea. The others work on the equipment maintenance, smooth out the sludge, devise the working groups that in May could find themselves operating according to the new regulations imposed by the pandemic, keep under observation the growth of the laver, the seaweed that last year, between June and July, contributed to trigger a great death toll capable of putting the entire working season at risk. "It's there, in the middle of the pond, it's sprouting", Alberto explains on the phone, while searching for the green spot with his eyes. All the burl capable of putting the entire ave enabled the cooperative to start the street-food selling activities in July are stuck. For lagoon fishing the period going from April to September is fundamental for the income of the entire year. Almost all members of the cooperative have fishing as the only income.

    The situation in the Santa Giusta pond is no different. Here too the cooperative cannot benefit from the opening of crab and eel fishing. “The whole sector has stopped, fishmongers, restaurants, distribution. Nobody risks investing in perishable goods. We come two or three days a week, fish what the family needs, fix the equipment, make new nets. Few go out to sea", states Marco Pili. Marco also witnesses hopefully the "flow" of the juveniles, from the sea to the pond.

    In all likelihood it will be impossible this year for Santa Giusta to organize the famous “Fassonis regatta”, the competition that has animated the town for forty years and calls thousands of tourists to admire the ancient boats skimming on the low waters of the pond. Marco Pili and his son Davide are maestros in constructing and sailing the splendid Neolithic boats. For three months, during the summertime, in the school financed by the municipality, they educate children and teenagers to weave marsh hay, to sail with oars and perches. For this year, new rules were foreseen that would have made the regatta even more competitive and exciting. “We must respect the rules as much as possible, for the benefit of everybody. It will be difficult to organize an event with so many people. We will be ready for the next year", says Marco confidently. In the meantime, one of his fassonis has found an equally noble mission, becoming the symbol of a solidarity initiative promoted by the fishermen of the Oristano area, and aimed at his fellow Lombard fellows, overwhelmed by Covid-19.

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