The “Fishing in the Fisheries of the Rio Minho” declared Portuguese Intangible Cultural Heritage

The traditional art of Fishing in the Fisheries of the Rio Minho has been declared Intangible Cultural Heritage by the Portuguese government. The recognition starts with the proposal made in August 2020 by the European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation of the Rio Minho – EGTC Rio Minho. The initiative was approved by the Portuguese Government last November 30, registering it in the National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage. The resolution of the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage (DGPC) particularly highlighted the value of this millennial practice as a reflection of the identity of the cross-border community, of the social and cultural processes in which it originated and the dynamics of the transmission of know-how from one generation to another until our days.

Fishing in the Rio Minho fisheries encompasses the knowledge practiced and the expertise practiced by fishermen in the international section, considering the creation and adaptation of fishing gear to the spatial and natural contingencies of this river basin, transforming it into a cultural landscape, together with sophisticated social processes when building and sharing fisheries.

In just 37 kilometers, the natural border between Galicia and Portugal concentrates on both sides of the river nearly 900 fisheries for catching lamprey, tarpon, trout or salmon. Of the existing 900, 160 are active in Portugal and around 90 in Galicia. Some of those ancient stone structures are thousands of years old and were built in the time of the Romans; others are centuries old.

The Galician municipalities, key in the Spanish declaration

The EGTC Rio Minho also requested in 2020 the recognition of the art of fishing of the fisheries of the Rio Minho as intangible cultural heritage in Spain, which in this case must be processed by the Galician government, a declaration that it expected to be forthcoming now that the Portuguese government have already included it in its registration.

For the declaration of fisheries as Assets of Cultural Interest (BIC) by the Government of Galicia, it is necessary for each of the municipalities to make a prior registration in their municipal inventories, so the involvement of local governments is now key to achieving recognition.