Productive tasks: gathering shellfish (Spain)

Productive tasks: gathering shellfish (Spain)
1900-1901 Gathering shellfish. Joaquín Sorolla  © Museo Sorolla.  

Productive tasks: gathering shellfish (Spain)

In coastal settlements, men specialised in fishing and women in collecting shellfish. Along all the coast of Spain, people gathered bivalve molluscs, but intensive exploitation has meant the use of semi-farming methods. In Galicia over-exploitation of bivalve molluscs has led to farming them as can be seen from the large rafts where mussels are bred, these being managed by men, while women farm subtler and more laborious species such as cockles in specific places for gathering later on.

Gathering hatchling seeds starts in April and usually lasts until November. The farms for obtaining shellfish must be in operation all the year round. The ground must be renewed and oxygenated in spring, before the largest spawning and needs to be put into operation during the weakest of the great tides in March. At the end of July, the first gathering takes place, the second at the end of November, and a third in March when the ground is renewed.