The name “Fishing in the Rio Minho fisheries” includes the knowledge and skills practiced by the fishermen of the international border of the Rio Minho, considering the creation and adaptation of the “Fishing Arts” to the spatial and natural contingencies of the Rio Minho, transforming it into a cultural landscape, together with sophisticated social processes of construction and sharing of the ‘fisheries’.
This process stands out as intangible cultural heritage in the way in which the Minhot human communities were able to understand the ecological context and use the resources of their disposal, within the orographic, geological, hydrological, fishing, social and environmental conditions of the ecosystem reference space where they live.
In the international course of the Rio Minho, between the Torre da Lapela (Monção) and the Igrexa do Porto (As Neves) and, upstream, the Trancoso river -between Melgaço and Galicia- which delimits the border between Portugal and Spain, there are more than 900 centuries-old constructions (in some cases possibly thousands of years old) on both sides of the river, the so-called ‘fisheries’. The ‘fisheries’ are stone constructions, with a body in the form of a wall composed of paired of stones with rectangular shape, and which can have several bodies (‘piais’/’poios’) in a rhomboid shape, with or without queue, which are used to set up river fishing gear, such as butron and the gourd.
Its heritage value derives both from its architecture as its typological variety, within a small territorial context -where they mark the landscape- and from its historical existence for centuries, always practiced by the Minhot communities, who had to develop knowledge and practices of use and pooling, social organization, etc., which are an exceptional intangible heritage associated with them. The classification requested under the title of “Fishing in the fisheries of the Rio Minho” has its reason for being so that we are aware of the high value of the knowledge and practical knowledge associated with fishing in the fisheries. And because the intangible heritage of the ‘fisheries’ of the Rio Minho it is only understandable when learning about the relationship between material, intangible and natural assets. The fishermen who use the fisheries and their fishing gear have a continuous relationship with the scape where they are stablished, considering the requirement of its maintenance.