Sea People: memories for future
Beginning in the 1920s, the passage from the lugsail fishing boats to the motorized propulsion system started radically to change the complex interdependence between the human and the sea in the coastal towns of the Italian Middle-Adriatic Sea. For centuries, fishermen had been confronted with the vagaries of the sea, and had developed sophisticated practical knowledge and magical-religious beliefs to reckon with the perils of the marine streams, tornadoes and storms. The 1950s marked a real watershed in the centuries-old history of the traditional seamanship in Central Italy as the motorboats, in tandem with the new technological devices for navigation, enabled fishermen to control the radical unpredictability that had long marked their everyday worlds and imaginations. On the other hand, the massive exploitation of the marine resources, made possible by these technological developments, has triggered unprecedented transformations. Because of the increasing degradation of the seafloors, the restrictions imposed by the European Community (e.g. the ban on the use of drift nets in 1997) to ensure viable fisheries have posed new challenges for the fishing communities, who have faced seasons of crisis and now have to envision sustainable futures. The Museo la Regina of Municipality of Cattolica (Rimini) has dedicated an entire section to the local seamanship and, in 2002, realized the documentary feature ‘Living Archives of the Sea’ (Archivi viventi del mare, Ceschi) based on 14 interviews with old fishermen. However, the history of the motorization of the traditional fisheries, embodied in the memories of a generation of fishermen that is slowly disappearing, with its socioeconomic and ecological implications, still needs to be fully recovered. Sea people’s personal memories are an integral part of an intangible heritage, with deep transregional dimensions, which has the potential to trigger inter-generational dialogue, to raise public awareness of historical roots of the present and to foster the imagination of sustainable futures.
Community engagement, Diversity, Education, Youth oriented