Galician shell fisherwomen have been tracking beaches for centuries in search of clams and cockles. Thanks to them, shellfishing on foot survives, an ancient fishing gear threatened today by biological control and the threat of poachers.
A work that revolves around the tides, since only when it goes down is it possible to carry out this work. The position of the moon and the calendar guide them, waiting for the right moment to launch into the sea in search of these delicacies.
It doesn’t matter if it rains or thunders, since, as Álvaro Ybarra Zavala tells us in XLSemanal, they barely have 4 hours to dig in the sand with heavy tools: hoes and rakes of different shapes.
The Galician shell fisherwoman mainly cockles, clams and knives, among others, but also carry out work to increase production:
The sowing, the transfer of crops to more accessible places, the “rareo”, which is carried out when the population is excessive and also keep at bay predatory species.
In short, these women constitute one of the most exact representations of Galician culture and keeping alive one of the pillars that makes this land unique, the tradition.
Photographs by Álvaro Ybarra Zavala