The history of tuna fishing in the Cadiz province

DestinationThe history of tuna fishing in the Cadiz province


The Cadiz province in the South-West of Spain is a fascinating, varied area and is a wonderful place.  It includes beautiful seaside fishing villages, the historic and charming town of Jerez (home of sherry production), the bohemian Tarifa famous for windsurfing and kite surfing, beautiful countryside and the exclusive destination of Sotogrande.

The seaside villages of the Cadiz province are synonymous with blue fin tuna, with a long history of fishing this majestic fish and intriguing ways to celebrate their catch. The history stretches all the way back to the Phoenicians in 800BC who founded the city of Cadiz and introduced the traditional method of fishing known as the almadraba. This was later adopted by the Romans and continues to this day during the tuna season from April to June.

The almadraba is a maze of nets, placed to intercept the route that the tuna are taking from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean and herd them into the main “copo” net when they are then hauled out by the fishermen. This process is very important to the culture of the region, but it is also sustainable and highly regulated to ensure that smaller fish are not landed at this time.

These four key tuna centres of Conil, Barbate, Zahara de los Atunes and Tarifa, celebrate their heritage and tradition with Almadraba Tuna Festivals in May and June each year. These centre around catching the fish with the traditional alamdraba net, but have expanded into so much more which visitors can enjoy. The local bars and restaurants put on special tuna dishes and compete to win the prize for the best, so you can enjoy stunning tapas dishes of the freshest and best tuna in the country. There are also cooking shows and demonstrations and events known as “ronqueo”, where fishermen, fish mongers or chefs take a whole tuna and expertly cut it into its many delicious parts, explaining the process to onlookers and allowing you to try some of the freshest tuna you will ever eat. Alongside all the amazing food to eat, these festivals also include concerts, performances, tours, exhibitions and much more, so it’s a wonderful time to visit.

Conil de la Frontera is home to the original Almadraba festival, which it started over 20 years ago. This festival lasts for the entire month of May and it’s a wonderful time to visit this picturesque town. Located under an hour and a half drive from La Reserva Club Sotogrande, it is home to beautiful white sandy beaches and pretty little bays and coves to explore. The charming old town is a maze of narrow streets and white washed houses lined with brightly coloured pots and you can discover historical treasures such as the Church of Santa Catalina and The Guzman Tower.  The area also has many great hiking trails and can be explored on horse back or mountain bike as part of an active holiday.

Here at La Reserva Club we’re passionate about bringing in the very best ingredients from our local region and showcasing them in our restaurants. Our chefs love to prepare healthy dishes, inspired and led by the best seasonal produce in fresh and tasty dishes. Fish and seafood is always prominent on the menu and the local tuna is always a firm favourite, especially when it is at its best in the spring and summer months. It is particularly prized globally for sushi and Japan is one of the biggest consumers of this delicacy. We are lucky to be able to use it to serve up the best sushi at La Reserva Club under the guidance of our sushi chef.

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