KOMIŠKA RIBARSKA EPOPEJA
Komiža, located on the island of Vis, has for centuries been the fishing center on the Adriatic Sea. This small comunity, which never had more then 3500 inhabitants, at one time had up to 1000 fishermen. Fishermen from Komiža were noted for traveling great distances to more productive fishing areas...
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|Summary:||Komiža, located on the island of Vis, has for centuries been the fishing center on the Adriatic Sea. This small comunity, which never had more then 3500 inhabitants, at one time had up to 1000 fishermen. Fishermen from Komiža were noted for traveling great distances to more productive fishing areas – noteably Palagruža. The fishermen from Komiža had constructed and developed their own type of fishing boat called »gajeta — falkuša«. It is an open boat, 26 to 29 feet long, nearly 9 feet wide, with sails up to 120 square meters of surface. With such boats the Komižians, under favourable conditions, made up to 42 miles distance between Komiža and Palagruža in less than five hours. Komiža fishermen departed for Palagruža in regattes. The cannon shot from the fortress of Komiža was the signal for the start of the regatte in which there were up to 70 fishing boats — »gajeta — falkuša«. When there was no wind, the crew had to row these big, heavy wooden boats which were loaded with fishing gear and provisions to the far goal on the open sea. The men had to row an average of 13 hours to Palagruža competing in speed so as to get a better place primary objective of fishing the Palagruža area as to catch and salt sardines. For 20 days the boats remained in the Palagruža area fishing and salting sardines, often working 24 hours a day. It was not unusual to catch and salt up to 6 tons of sardines per gajeta with a five men crew. It was possible to achieve this only by hard labor. More than that — it was a great struggle with nature. In the depths of the sea, in the dark night, the eyes of the experienced fisherman watched patiently for the phosphprous sparks created by the moving fish. He was able to recognize the kind, the quantity and the depth of the school. On the fisherman’s evaluation depended how much fish would be in the nets. After the nets had been pulled into the gajeta then each fish had to be taken out from the mesh salted in wooden barrels. In 1920 when Palagruža belonged to Italy in the Rapall agreement, it was stated that Komiža in the following 60 years could fish around Palagruža with 60 boats. In the period between the two World Wars the Italian fishermen who were fishing around Palagruža acquired much knowledge from the Komižians. Also, at this time Greek and Italian cargo ships were coming to Komiža and purchasing tons of fresh and salted fish. Komiža which had for centuries developed and elaborated two ways of fishing sardines with gill nets and a type of purse seine was too much attached with this tradition to accept quickly new techniques of fishing. After the Second World War, Komiža lost its leading position on the Adriatic sea and become a fishing port of local significance. But many fishermen from Komiža made themselves famous far from home and from the Adriatic Sea. On the West Coast of the United States of America they made a great contribution to the development of the fishing industry. Mate Martin Bogdanović from Komiža was the founder of the fishing industry on the West Coast of the United States of America. Another Komižian Pavao Martinis Poško explored new fishing grounds on the Aleutian Islands in Alaska and received national recognition as a Pioneer in American Salmon Fishing Industry. He received a commendation from President of USA Eisenhower for his contribution to the salmon fishing industry. This tradition and exceptional lexical treasure of the dialect of Komiža is a monument of the past centuries of intensive life with the sea. This lexical treasure disappear. In these records I have made an effort to preserve the language monument of Komiža fishermen epopee.|