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Fishes 

In the history of the fishing in Venezuela can be considered 3 aspects, those which, although interrelated to each other, they conserve a certain independence in their development and evolution. These are: 1) the fishing in the time previous to the discovery whose methods and characteristic they are still continued among the current indigenous ethnoses non aculturadas or in acculturation process; 2) the fishing of the pearl starting from the discovery, intimately bound activity with the beginnings of the conquest and colonization of the territory and that  is prolonged up to 1969; and, 3) the fisheries in general, starting from the discovery in that the methods and brought techniques of Europe incorporated gradually to the fishing activities that are developed in the territories that will form Venezuela and whose evolution and expansion drive to the current situation of the fishing in the country. 
The indigenous fishing: The archaeological locations indicate that more than 6.000 years ago, during the time mesoindia, in Venezuela  was already practiced the fishing in marine and continental waters. In those locations they have been fishhooks, lances, associated with remains of fish and mollusks. The fishhooks were manufactured with bone, shell and possibly with tortoiseshell and coconut shells. The most complete archaeological evidence in the before Columbus fishing in Venezuela, is some 2.000 years of antiquity old and it comes from the location of The Pitía (peninsula of the Peasant). it has been supposed that the technique consisted on catching the fish with traps or triangular fences, to finish off them then to macana blows. The use of nets in that time corresponds to the series Manicuaroide and Manicuare whose antiquity oscillates between 700 and 3.000 years before the present. They have met lithic pieces in an oval way with a central groove, which were probably used as pesos placed in the inferior border of the nets. Among the columnists that give us news of the general characteristics and indigenous fishing methods, they deserve to make an appointment: Antonio of Herrera, Gonzalo Fernández of Oviedo and Valdés, Francisco López of Gómara, brother Bartolomé of The Houses and the father José Gumilla. For them we know that the fishing activities before the arrival of the Spaniards already had a certain importance among some indigenous groups and they had reached an appreciable development. They used numerous types of devices like the lights, nets, fishhooks, harpoons and arrows. Among the methods, they practiced the fence and the perusal. They also used sticks and corrals made with wooden stakes, mainly in those coastal areas affected by the flow and reflux of the tides; in the mouths that communicated the coast lagoons with the sea or in the outlet of lateral pipes in communication with the main channel of a river. It is interesting to make notice that many of these procedures like the perusal, the use of lights and the beach fences persist until today, modified and improved with technical and more modern methods, taking place a true technological miscegenation. The lights that used to attract the fish were afire smuts or firebrands. The perusal or beating of the water accompanied by screams to scare and to concentrate to the fish toward a point and this way to drive them toward the nets is nowadays common procedure in the fence and capture of the flat one. The use of the barbasco, poisonous extract coming from diverse vegetables, to kill the fish, era also very common practice among the natives in the interior waters. The used crafts were curiaras, sometimes of great behavior whose use continues being common in all the fluvial fisheries of the country. They knew the form also of conserving the fish using the salt and other methods like the simple drying, the roasted one, the one cooked and others whose explanation in the chronicles is not clear. The methods of fishing of the current yanomamis, seem to repeat and to confirm the informations of the columnists. These natives fish mainly with arch and it darts; this last, with wooden tip of atari,  has harpoon form whose hook is of a monkey bone. They also use other arrows more small, denominated ruhumasi. In the time of low waters (summer) they fish with kind of a nets barrederas formed with palm leaves and lianas, with those that concentrate to the fish that later take out with the hands or with kind of a sieves, made of mamure, of about 80 diameter cm. They also make use of the barbasco that extract of diverse undergrowths as the ayaritoto that is a liana and the yarakahena that it is a bush. The liana uses it cutting it in pieces of about 20 cm that later they crush and they throw to the water. The procedures of the waraos are similar to those of the yanomamis, but they don't use the barbasco, but mainly the arrows, the harpoons, kind of a stick floats with a fishhook and those staked or hurdles to catch the fish in the crossings of the pipes. At the present time almost all the waraos uses devices and modern methods: nailon nets, fishhooks, etc. 
The fishery of pearls: The fishery of pearls in diverse places of the oriental costs, it was already practiced by the natives before the arrival of the Spaniards, extracting them for diving to free lung. The importance of the pearls and their intensive exploitation begins almost from the first moment in that one has news of the pleasures of Cubagua during Columbus's third trip in 1498 and with Pedro Alonso Niño exploration and Cristóbal Guerra the following year. Apparently, in 1512 some type of homestead of pearls of Spaniards settled down in the small island already existed. In certain form, the history of the exploitation of the pearl made a mistakes with the origins of the history of Venezuela. The depth to that you dove is not known with certainty, but it probably oscillated between 4 and 9 fathoms. The diving carried out it indigenous of the island and firm coast, but they were also brought of other Antillean islands, among them lucayos of the Bahamas. Starting from 1527, the Crown authorized the introduction of black slaves, but they were not used in a general way until the second half of the XVI century. In their beginnings, the normal unit of fishing was a small canoe with a company from 6 to 8 people. Starting from 1524 bigger canoes were introduced, "of charts", with a normal capacity of some 15 people. The trail for the extraction of pearls began to be used in 1529 by Luis of Lampiñán, to who the Crown granted him a permission to fish for the haulage system, but  had to give up him for the resistance that you/they made the cubagüenses to the same one. The first description of a trail dates of 1568. The fishing tasks began when leaving the sun and they finished at dusk. The production reached a maximum around 1527, when the real recruit had a value of about 1.300 marks. Starting from that date the production acusadamente descends, so that already in 1542, the pleasures of Cubagua are practically abandoned, the same as the city of New Cádiz. In 1545, they are only in Margarita 2 or 3 canoes and many canoes. However, in 1559 the exploitation continues and it resurges with force in 1574 again when they are discovered the pleasures of the island of Car. Toward final of the century another crisis takes place; a dispute arises between Margarita governments and Cumaná for the exploitation of the fishery of Cubagua that is solved by the intervention of the Crown, the one which, for the same dates, it dictates some general ordinances on the fisheries among those that the concession of recompenses is included those that discover new pleasures. At the beginning of the XVII century the fishing organization of extraction was already more complex and it is mentioned that the canoes had a "captain" that was a black one skillful in the occupation and a "I steer" that was Spanish. In the XVIII century, the boats were governed by black mayorales. Besides the pleasures of Cubagua and Car they were also exploited those of Margarita and some located in Araya, the gulf of Cariaco and Cumaná. A relationship exists of final of the XVI century that enumerates all the banks that were exploited in that time. Accomplished the independence, the Government granted in August from 1823 to the British company Rundell, Bridge & Rundell the exclusive right, for 10 years, of the fishing of pearls by means of machines in the territorial seas and costs of the Great Colombia. In September of 1828 the brig Wolf arrived to Margarita to begin such activities, for bill of the company, in waters of Cubagua; but apparently it desisted at the little time. The use of the trail didn't probably take in being imposed as the most appropriate method in extraction, being used practically without modifications until our days. During Cipriano Castro's government, in 1902,  also begins the exploitation with diving suit plungers for concession to a English company, which almost operated time, passing the exploitation at the hands of small managers, some of which ended up possessing until 18 teams that were operated by small fishing units, each one of which  had a plunger. One worked until a depth of 9 fathoms (about 16 meters). Intents of working to more depths, of 14 fathoms, had to be abandoned because the plungers suffered of cramps and hemorrhages. The diving with diving suit was used by last time in 1961. The biggest production perlera in the modern times took place in 1943, with a volume of about 1.300 kg of pearls. Starting from this year, and especially of 1946, the low production considerably, as well as the number of requested permits. In 1957 524 permits were sent for trail and 11 for diving suit; in 1961, 343 and 4 respectively, and in 1966 only 105 for trail. To the production shortage, the fall of the prices was added. Starting from 1950 the price of the karat of pearl didn't pass of Bs. 4 while  enters 1918 and 1924 it oscillated among Bs. 20 and 30. In 1961 they no longer arrived to Margarita foreign buyers and the whole production was acquired by local merchants to reason of Bs. 1,75 the karat of the pearls of better quality and of Bs. 1,10 for those of inferior quality. The last exploration-exploitation was carried out in 1969, when the exhaustion was verified of most of the banks. Later on the shell pearl (tripa`e pearl) it has been exploited sporadically for the use of the meat. Although starting from 1940 they began to exist motorized crafts, great part of the fishing fleet, up to 1961, carried out the haulage operations with candle and until the last times, the trails were hoisted by hand. The fishing season opened up in January and  closed April 30. 
The fisheries in general: From the beginnings of the discovery, you began to bring America the methods and European fishing arts and this way, in a relationship of 1495 the shipment of 2 nets, type chinchorro is already mentioned and of crafts to fish. The commander's expedition Diego of Ordaz to the Orinoco also took chinchorros for the fishing as it consisted in a document of 1532. This type of net barredera is the one that more you generalized in Venezuela and it has been conserved until the present with very few modifications in the general structure, although it has been diversified for its use in specific fisheries and this way, the mandinga has arisen that is a chinchorro of smaller size; the picuero, adapted for the picúas capture or barracudas; the caritero, etc. If in the structure it has hardly suffered modifications, in the materials used for their construction the transformation it has been complete. Now the net cloths already come made and they are of nailon, the same as the cabuyas; and the floats that were made with tacarigua wood, have been substituted by those of plastic. The haulage of the net was always made by hand until very recent time in that for the manpower shortage and the motorization of the crafts,  spent to use these last ones for the traction of the net until very near the beach, where the one is finished off it throws halando by hand the net. Precise information doesn't exist on the time in that the other arts were introduced today in use, but for its wide diffusion in many of the former Spanish colonies should be also in early time. Of European and brought origin of Spain they are the tarraya, the palangre or espinel, trasmallos, harpoons, ballestinas, etc.; however, the nasa that is used in Venezuela, proceeds, apparently, of the India and taken by the Portuguese to África, it passed to the sea Caribbean to inclination probably the island of Madeira. The construction of crafts for fishing also began very soon and it exists information that toward 1532 they were already manufactured in New Cádiz of Cubagua. Another information sent in 1565 to Sacred Domingo's Audience indicates that Diego Fernández of Serpa was in charge of in manufacturing cuadernas for fishing crafts in the island of Cubagua and in 1586, a real identification ordered the governors from the New Andalusia and Venezuela that didn't put obstacles to the margariteños that will look for wood to its costs to build the canoes and ships. The excellent tradition and quality of the carpentry of existent riverside still in the oriental costs, it is a clear indication of the antiquity and importance of this industry. The first ordinances on  fishes they also come from Cubagua and they are included in the general of the city of New Cádiz, edited in 1537. They make reference to the dispositions that should be continued for the heavy of the fish. As for internal and external trade one has knowledge that already in the XVI century salted fish was exported from Margarita to The Spaniard (Sacred Domingo) and to other Antillean islands and that the lebranches that captured the Indians of Uchire and Fences in the lagoons of Unare and Píritu by means of corrals and barbecues, supplied all those districts, to Caracas, mainly during the Lent. The natives, mainly the guaiqueríes, incorporated very soon to the organizations of fishing exploitation of the Spaniards, constituting most of the manpower. During the Colony, the capture methods, conservation of the fish and marketing stay practically unalterable and they are prolonged until well entered the XX century. The structure of the organizations of exploitation, or fishing trains, it is known well by Andrés Aurelio Level description in the statistical Memory of 1873. For her we know that in Margarita they existed in that time 42 fishing trains, of which 29 resided in the island of Car. Of them, 12 were of chinchorro and 30 of fillets. The trains settled down in certain places, receiving the name of homesteads, those which, in many cases, they were the origin of numerous towns of Margarita island and of the state Sucre. In a train they could work until 200 people distributed in the following form: of 120 to 140 men, of 15 to 20 women and of 30 to 40 children. Also, there were from 10 to 12 officials or manipulators, 1 leader, 1 rancher, 1 steward and the owner; all the workers were guaiqueríes. This structure and their system of distribution of benefits, they stay basically until the present, coexisting with other types of companies and fishing methods that they begin to be introduced by the middle of the XX century. The only substantial evolution of the fishing train and the homestead is the decrease of its size and correlatively, the increase of the number of these units of fishing exploitation, and this way, the 12 chinchorro trains that there were in 1873 in Margarita, with more than 200 employees each one, they give place to more than 170 in 1956, with an average of about 10 employees for train. For the same dates of final of the XIX century, Margarita fishermen already exercised their activity in the islands The Turtle and The Blanquilla, in those which you arranchaban per periods of 4 to 6 followed months to exercise the fishing. However, in other nearer islands or in Macanao (it leaves western of Margarita) it has been and it is still traditional, to divide the year in 4 coincident fishing seasons with the main religious parties: of Easter to Week Santa; of Week Santa until San Juan (24 June); of San Juan until the Virgin of the Valley (8 September) and from this festivity until Easter. It was also frequent to return to Margarita for the party of the Cruz of May. During these periods of rest they were beached, they painted and they repaired the crafts and the liquidation was made to the workers. The mobility that has allowed the motorization of the fleet has gone modifying the rigidity of the seasons of absence gradually. 
The colonization of the archipelago of The Asleep ones for the fishermen margariteños is more recent. The first establishments are located toward 1923, when Felipe Marcano, of Mouth of Well, establishes their homesteads in several keys of The Asleep ones; for those dates a family of Choir also lived in those islands and they were still some Dutchmen, which had been exploiting the salt and the mangrove to obtain coal approximately up to 1910. The same as in The Turtle and The Blanquilla, the fishing in The Asleep ones was made mainly with line and nasas and the whole captured fish was salted. In 1948 there were in The Asleep 13 seated families, almost all of fishermen margariteños. Similar colonization carried out in the delta of the Orinoco the fishermen margariteños that led to the foundation of Tucupita for the navigator margariteño Juan Millán and other, in 1848. The fishing of the lobster with nasas in The Asleep ones doesn't begin properly up to 1950, becoming the main objective of the fishery of the archipelago gradually. Up to 1940, almost the whole fishing fleet was of oar and it veils, since the general Juan Vicente Gómez had forbidden the installation of motors. Starting from this year, the true transformation of the fishing fleet begins and with her the expansion of the properly Venezuelan fisheries of height begins, mainly that of line and palangre in the costs of Guayana, the one which gradually extends until Surinam and Cayena and even to the Brazil in campaigns that oscillate among 15 days and more than a month of duration. With the introduction of the motor it doesn't vary the basic type of the crafts, they simply adapt for the appropriate installation of the same ones. The trespuños that was the most characteristic craft, modifies mainly for the reduction of the canvas and it is generally equipped with central motor. Other smaller crafts are equipped with motors outside of overboard that they settled in a structure that was added to the stern, denominated grill. The trespuños has always been used mainly for the fish transport, dry or enhielado, to the ports of the national coast and the Antillean islands: Curazao, San Vicente, Granada, Martinique, etc. The first central motors that used, were to gasoline of the mark Gray Marin, substituted quickly by the classic of gasoil of the marks Lister, Bolinders and Pentax. The first marks of motors outside of overboard that they began to arrive to the country they were Archimedes, Johnson and Peters. In 1947 the government makes the first effort to motorize the fishing fleet acquiring, through the Venezuelan Corporation of Development, 225 central motors and 258 outside of overboard to sell them to credit to the fishermen. 
Coincident with the motorization of the fleet the introduction takes place in the country of new arts and fishing methods. In 1940, the company Basque Fisheries of the Caribbean, introduces the ring net for the capture of fish pelágicos whose use you generalizes very soon as an element more than the fishing trains and in 1947 they arrive the first haulage nets brought by Italian fishermen. The first haulage ship, the San Giorgio I, began to operate in 1948 in the gulf of Venezuela in order to exploiting the shrimps. In 1955 there were already 8 ships operating in this area, and in 1968 the arrastreros fleet in the whole country was of 122 ships, most of them with base on the dot Fixed (Edo. Falcon), but already some had settled down in the oriental region (Port The Cruz and Cumaná). In the same year, 8 arrastreros began to operate in the gulf of it Gave birth to. In 1971, the total number of haulage crafts was of 181, of which 117 belonged at the fleet of Fixed Point and 17 to that of Maracaibo, the rest to the oriental region. Starting from this year a gradual displacement takes place toward the oriental region, due to the scarce yield of the banks western camaroneros. In 1977 there was near 100 arrastreros in this region. Up to 1963, the arrastreros was of the type Mediterranean that you/they operated with a single net, but starting from this year the fleet modified and  transformed to the denominated pattern Florida that operates simultaneously with 2 nets. The fleet arrastrera reached its maximum dimension in 1989 with 439 crafts, diminishing at 415 in 1992. The haulage fishing in Venezuela was guided from its beginnings to the capture of the shrimp of shallow waters of the continental platform. Their performance has been extremely controversial and the source of a constant conflict with the handmade fishermen of traditional type that have been displaced and directly harmed by the activity of the arrastreros, which have also been questioned in connection with the possible negative effect that the haulage can have on the populations of fish demersales. Another recent innovation in the fisheries of Venezuela, it has been the tuna fishing with palangre. This modality began in 1954, but  takes impulse starting from 1959 when  starts a project of exploitation with Venezuelan-Japanese interests to operate 3 ships tunny boats. Many Venezuelan crafts incorporated to this fishing type modifying their structure, sometimes not very wisely, for the demands of a fishing of height. In 1971 about 60 ships tunny boats that had base mainly in ports of the northeastern region existed (Cumaná, Porlamar, Marigüitar) and in The Guaira. Recently, low Venezuelan flag operates ships tunny boats of the most modern structure and design and of great tonnage that you/they use the method of gigantic fence nets and they carry out its captures so much in national waters as international of the Caribbean and the Atlantic and in the Pacific. The delimitation of the marine areas and the creation of the denominated exclusive economic areas, believe Venezuela the necessity to negotiate bilateral treaties with the bordering nations to defend their fishing interests. In 1992 there was in the country 88 crafts atuneras, of which 35 use fence arts, 18 cane and fishhook, and 35 palangres. 
Legislation and fishing control: The fishing in Venezuela has always been an excluded activity that  has received very little attention of government's organs. For this reason, the production data, used manpower, number of crafts and arts of fishing etc., they are very scarce and fragmentary and in general, not very reliable. Up to 1936 in that the Ministry of Agriculture is believed and it Raises, it didn't exist in Venezuela any organism central regulator or controller of the fishing activity. Starting from the existence of this ministry, the sector fishes it occupies a very secondary position in the structure of the same one. In their beginnings, it depended on the Address of Cattle raising, after the Address of Agricultural Economy, passing in 1959 to the department of Hunt and  Fishes of the Address of Renewable Resources. In 1963 the National Office of Fishing is believed that it reaches a certain development and diversification of functions when  starts the agreement investigation MAC-FAO-PNUD and development that it lasted until the year 1972. In 1976, the National Office of Fishing disappears and the Sectoral General Address of Fishing Development is believed attributed to the Ministry of Agriculture that lasted until September of 1993. The intents to create a National Institute of the Fishing never passed of the project level. The first law of official fishing was promulgated in 1935 and it was repealed by that of 1944 that is at the present time the effective one; it lacks own regulation and a limited number of special dispositions only exists on the fishing activity, in general of casuistical and lacking type of organicidad. In 1960 and 1968 sendos bills of Fishing was elaborated that they never passed of being such. Also in 1944 the Law of Fishing of Pearls was promulgated. For ordinance núm. 3.166 spirit in gazette of date 8 of September of 1993, you creó the Autonomous Service of the Fishing Resources and Acuícolas (SARPA), like an organizational structure of transition, clerk of the Ministry of Agriculture and it Raises that substitutes to the Sectoral General Address of Fishing and Agriculture, as long as the Organic Law of Fishing and Acuicultura introduced for their discussion in the Congress in 1992 is approved definitively and that among other dispositions it contemplates the creation of the Venezuelan Institute of the Fishing and Agriculture. A novelty that is introduced with the creation of the SARPA is the collection for the grant of the fishing permits in all its modalities. 
Production: In 1873  was considered a fishing production of some 8.000 tm. The summary of statistical of production on the part of the State began in 1940. The dear figures for that year throw a production of 32.500 tm; however, this figure probably only represents around the 60 to 70% of the production real because many small towns they were not covered for the officials to that  doesn't take into account the self-consumption of the fishermen and to that neither the fish was computed transported in trucks from landing points isolated to cities of the interior. In 1945 the production figures were of 15.353 tm of fresh fish, 13.089 of salted fish and 6.023 of preserve. The first canning industry settled in Cumaná in 1938. In 1951  was carried out the first national fishing census, which gave a figure of 5.814 crafts with a total tonnage of 7.729,720 tm and 22.274 workers directly involved in the extraction tasks. The biggest tonnage corresponded to the states of New Esparta (2.311,848 tm) and Sucre (1.525,425 tm), that is to say the traditional areas of fishing. To the group of these 2 states it corresponded almost half of all the fishing labor force. The fishing production, except for some isolated year has stayed in constant increase. The production data from 1979 you sumarizan in the following square in metric tons. 

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Year  Fishes marít.  fishes fluv. Total 
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1979 164.420 6.934 171.354 
1980 170.640 15.933 186.573 
1981 178.591 13.346 191.937 
1982 198.683 15.010 213.693 
1983 206.860 20.009 226.869 
1984 243.940 21.073 265.013 
1985 263.900 16.169 280.069 
1986 284.197 19.886 304.083 
1987 263.122 27.441 240.563 
1988 256.826 30.634 287.460 
1989 318.907 23.015 341.922 
1990 319.400 18.900 338.300 
1991 328.707 21.293 350.000 
1992 305.380 20.574 325.954 
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The increases registered starting from 1979 are owed mainly to the tuna captures that spent of 5.500 tm in this year at 22.000 in 1982 and at 70.000 in 1984, that which represented an entrance of Bs. 942.000.000, becoming Venezuela the fourth country producing of tuna in the Atlantic. Of the total of the national fishing production, the biggest volume corresponds to the handmade fishing, including the sardine, continued by the fishing of the tuna. Starting from the devaluation of the bolivar in 1983, Venezuela became an exporter of fishing products; the prices increased considerably, growing the interest for the fishing activities which experienced a considerable growth with the rising impulse of the construction of ships, so much of riverside carpentry as industrial. Special attention has wakened up for the fisheries of products of high quality like the grouper and the pargo that are largely marketed in the exterior. In 1985, the value of the fishing production was considered in something more than Bs. 1.000.000.000 and in 1991,  went lightly inferior to the Bs. 18.000.000.000. in 1992 the number of crafts smaller permisadas was of almost 17.000. The number of crafts passed of 7.110 in 1977 at 12.121 in 1981, of which 3.837 correspond at the continental waters and 8.284 to the marine fisheries. The total number of fishermen has been located in the last years around the 4.000. F.C.

 


 

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