Liguria, the Monterosso anchovy, “u pan du ma” (bread of the sea)

4,1% of the national fishing fleet
14,6% Demersal trawl
4,1% Seine nets
78,5% Small-scale fisheries
2,8% Polyvalent passive gear

acciuga di monterosso

The “Anciua di Monterùsu”, the anchovy of Monterosso (Engraulis encrasicholus) is a small fish with a slender shape, its back is blue-black and its rounded belly is silvery.

In Monterosso fishing has been a major activity for over thirty years and its anchovies are popular. In June the shoals of anchovy arrive in eastern Liguria after a long journey: among the fishing community it is well-known that on St Peter’s day (29th June) there are the best catches.

Fishing takes place at night. After sunset, the fishing boats leave the harbor towing one or more smaller boat with a large lamp (lampara) on board facing downwards. Once they have identified the shoal, the fishers drop the net and turn on the light to attract the anchovies that are drawn by the sight of plankton, which becomes phosphorescent when illuminated, and remain trapped in the nets.

The salinity levels of the water are different in this area, which gives Monterosso anchovies a very balanced flavour: tasty but delicate, and they are consumed both fresh and salted. Once called “u pan du ma” (bread of the sea) they are among the most popular fish in Ligurian recipes: cooked in salt, stuffed, marinated or simply fried.