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Living in Madeira : Local Gastronomy : Espada Last Updated: Jun 28, 2008 - 12:29:23 AM

Espada! An important fish for Madeira.
By Jorge Barbosa
Jun 5, 2008 - 5:21:46 PM

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Câmara de Lobos - an excellent fishing point of departure

It was, however, the beautiful and picturesque village of Câmara de Lobos that became the predominant centre for fishing for Madeira in times to come. Before the village was established Câmara de Lobos was the home of thousands of docile Mediterranean Monk Seals, which - having not known the heavy handed ravages of Man till then - lay themselves to virtual extermination by a rampant and inexhaustible human slaughter of their species.
Câmara de Lobos

Câmara de Lobos benefits from a unique natural harbour

The natural harbour and chamber (hence the name "Câmara de Lobos", chamber of seals - or chamber of wolves if translated literally) that for so long provided shelter to the seal population was, after being so viciously plundered by the recent arrivals, transformed as a strategic point of departure for the adventurous fishermen to venture further towards the bountiful waters of the high seas. Câmara de Lobos soon provided the residents of the island with an excellent source of protein. Sea catches included "Cherne" (Wreckfish), Sardines, "Abróteas" (Larger Forkbeard Fish), "Encharéu" (Guelly Jacks), "Boga" (Bogue), Bluefish, many different types of Bream (including Cow Bream, White Bream, Common Bream, and Zebra Bream), "Bodião" (Parrotfish), "Serralhão" (Atlantic Bonito), Tuna, Cavalas and the abundant "Chicharros" (Horse Mackerel). Many other smaller amounts of other types of fish were also caught including the rather special "Badejo" (Comb Grouper), "Mero" (Dusky Grouper) and "Peixe Porco" (Gray Triggerfish).

Did you know?
While esteemed and honoured scientists in their time Edward Forbes, Fleeming Jenkin and even Alphonse Milne-Edwards made claims that nothing could survive under 450 metres below sea-level the fishermen of Câmara de Lobos were unwittingly proving them wrong.

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