RU  UK  EN
Статьи  >  Imagine  >  Shrimp fishing at Oostduinkerke: Horses for courses

Shrimp fishing at Oostduinkerke: Horses for courses

Автор: 23.04.2019 | traditions, Belgium
If early morning you walk along sandy beaches of Oostduinkerke, located in one of Belgium western provinces, you can see several suns. One, of course, is in the sky, and others are bright yellow spots riding horses carrying heavy wicker baskets, while plying the shallows along the North Sea coast for shrimps. Oostduinkerke and shrimps are hand and glove, so horseback shrimping is still practiced here.

History of this tradition dates back to the 16th century. It was then, more than 500 years ago, when this craft originated. Once common, fishing nets used to stretch along all coast of modern Belgium, the Netherlands, and part of France and England. Over time, more and more fishermen began to dismount from their horses, moving towards new technologies, adapting to the era of mass fishing and agricultural industries, and thus throwing their nets with entangled perennial traditions to the corners of their huts.Photo xcook.info

Today there is only one place in the world where shrimps are still hunted by catchers on horseback – Belgian coastal town Oostduinkerke. This beautiful dune area is like a page from some old fishing encyclopaedia, where you can read a short reference article, and a small photograph helps understand it, and recreate in imagination everything left beyond text. Season of horseback shrimping lasts from March to late November. Several times a week, in the morning time, men begin to prepare equipment. They load a large wooden cart with fishing nets, baskets, sinkers, work wear, sieves and harness their horses.

Robust sturdy horses with muscular legs of Flemish Brabant breed look not as high and graceful as some of their counterparts, but they are unreplaceable members of the industry. These durable, hefty Brabant horses have enormous strength to cope with seawater resistance and multi-kilogram cargo. Many Brabant have short stumps instead of lush tails. Flapping tails prevented anglers to see the road from cart, so they cut tails. Over time, such actions were recognized as inhumane and banned.

See also: Belgian lace: Waltz of a thousand threads

Fish hunters hit their road. Although their way lasts several hours, everyone is in time to get a sleep coast. Oostduinkerke sea has an ideal destination for shrimping. Fishermen riders have only three hours for trawling the sea at low tide: 90 minutes they catch crustaceans in low water and 90 minutes after low water.

The workers unfold equipment, pull over their clothes typical rubberized oilskins and overalls of traditional bright yellow colour, which according to legend discourages large sea creatures and attracts good weather.Huge wicker baskets are attached to both sides to the saddle. The horse fishermen start trundle down the beach.

Horses go to sea and advance at a steady pace dragging the conical net, two ends of which are linked rectangular board. Water spreads boards in different directions, which prevents fouling net up, and creates a kind of funnel. There is also a chain attached to the net that stretches along the sandy bottom and creates vibrations, causing shrimp to jump and thus be scooped into the nets.

After half an hour of work, when the nets grow heavy, the horses turn for shore. While horses are resting, the men empty their catch of shimmering shrimp into sieves, sifting out the unwanted crabs, fish, jellyfish and the other marine life tossed back to the sea. Kilograms of a special variety of grey shrimp go into baskets, which are taken home after trawling. They repeatedly wash a daily catch in clean water and then it is cooked in a large pot with salted boiling water. Cooked crustaceans are spread over on a large net that allows boiled stuff to cool and dry. The taste of exceptionally fresh true sea delicacy nowadays seems unique.

Previously fishing baskets got easy filled up with the harvest so that arrow on scales went beyond mark of 10 and 20 kilograms, but now, in response to the long hours of preparation, trip towards the coast, and toiling there, the sea brings a prey that barely reaches 5 kilograms.original_open-uri20131106-5463-35vjfg.jpgPhoto afar.com

The locals explain it by weakened sea immune system, climate changes, disordered ecosystem and regular intervention of trawlers that are alien to the sea.Today, only a dozen families are engaged in horseback shrimping. There was a critical time when this type of activity could have died out if not for the trio of anglers who recognize it as their duty to keep the tradition alive.

The families always invited children from the surrounding villages. They tell them about the history of the craft, share secrets and skills, treat kids with small sweet delicacies. The hosts are trying to persuade children to understand the importance of local traditions and give the younger generation undistorted true flavour of fresh food.

The families are strongly supported by local authorities. The local officers long ago recognized an ancient and almost lost a tradition as a great legacy, which must continue and is a major asset for Oostduinkerke, Belgium, and the entire world impregnated with innovations.Photo chance4traveller.com

From 2013, this ancient way of fishing was included into the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. So, nowadays Oostduinkerke nets catch not only a tiny, sweet gift from the sea, but numerous tourists. Every year, in early summer, thousands of travellers flock to this region to pay a two-day visit to the Shrimp Festival, an ode to the sea and to shrimps, the main event of which is the shrimp parade held in the streets of Oostduinkerke, with shrimp fishermen on horseback in the spotlight.

Cover photo afar.com

Вам это будет интересно:
Crafts of Uzbekistan. Straw Items
OUTLOOK was lucky to visit hospitable Uzbekistan and get better acquainted with crafts of this amazing country. Today we tell you about art of straw work, about materials that craftsmen use and what secrets and unique features of this craft are. Feel the world with us!
Eastern music of Sufi: Qawali
‘Love evolves when one looks in the eyes of the person beloved seeing there God’, in such a way the lines of some Arabian song called Qawali is translated. The authorship of this chant is ascribed to Eastern strangers Sufi who tending to find the sense of existence strolled around the half an Earth bare-footed. In the travels they composed songs where they told narration describing what they had to endure.
Forgotten art: Chinese ceremony in South Korea
After the walking along the boisterous streets of Seoul one wants to take it easy in a café drinking a cup of flavored tea, however, it never happens like that. Good teahouses are found out only near Buddhist monasteries or at the bohemian pedestrian street Insadon. Chinese ceremony in Korea that is incomparable with the rough schedule of offices and remaining the joy of wise people and privilege of the masters.
Malanka and Vasyl winter fun: Carnival in Ukrainian style
The New Year in Ukraine did not always start with a Christmas tree, and instead of Santa Claus and Snow Maiden, guests were waiting fora minx girl - Malanka and motor-boy Vasyl accompanied by the retinue. All the follies were out of hand: the ridiculed riddles carried a sacred content, dictated by the logic of the myth of the duel of spring and winter.
Mulled wine: Yummy way to keep warm
Vitamins, development of resistance to cold, correct day regimen... That's all good and useful, especially when the winter weather swirls in, but sometimes we all have to pamper ourselves and at the same time to be protected against germs and colds. And the best way to do it is to sip some mulled wine.
New Year in offbeat way: Traditions around the world
In anticipation of the holiday rush, we took a sleigh, harnessed reindeer and enjoyed a ride across the planet to find out unique customs for welcoming New Year worldwide.
Maculele: dance to make the sparks fly
When the first emigrants from Africa came to Brazil, they brought rousing actions in the country that had been living upon the principle ‘Life is a carnival’. As the citizens of Africa explained, dance maculele appeared in the environment where slaves had to protect themselves from the encroachment of their owners.
Eskimo igloo: It is easy as a pie to build castles in ...snow
A little son came to his father and suggested to run away from mom and granny to the North Pole? Now, do not indulge into tragic speeches of severe frosts, pitch darkness of the polar night and hungry polar bears! Give a conspiracy wink to a little brave one, and give him a real man's job for his school winter holidays that is to learn how to build an igloo, night shelter in ever-frost lands.
Game for aristocrats.Cricket
English highest society and cricket… sounds almost like tea with milk. They can exist separately, but together they taste more delicious. And if you're still confused with cricket, croquet and croquettes, do not worry – find explanation below.
Kalash: Amazing people in the mountains of Pakistan
While watching Discovery or other popular science shows it seems that our planet has been explored and examined length and breadth long ago. However some phenomena that we come across in our lives literally knock us down. Like, for instance, the fact that in Hindu Kush Mountains mysterious and blonde Kalash people live in isolation...
Workshop on Cooking Varenyky Dumplings for the Ambassador's Spouses Club from the Outlook Project And Culinary Expert Ievgen Klopotenko
On the initiative of the Ambassador's Spouses Club, Outlook Project organized a culinary workshop on shaping varenyky dumplings from a Ukrainian chef and co-owner of 100 Years Back in Future Ievgen Klopotenko.
The Belgian King's Feast in Kyiv. Ambassador Alex Lenaerts Continues Annual Celebration Tradition
Philharmonic of Kyiv hosted guests of the Embassy of Belgium in Ukraine on the occasion of the King's Feast. Ambassadors Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Finland, Japan, Norway, Slovenia, Armenia, Brazil, Argentina and other countries attended the solemn reception and the concert program.
Las Jornadas del Olivar y el Aceite: vegetative oysters feast
Lovers of olives and olive oil mark small town of Baena on the map of Spain with the red pen. Annually from November 9 till November 11 it becomes the place where gastronomists from all over the world gather. Various events, background information and plenty of diverse delicacies are awaiting those who dare crack the stone of wonder-fruit.
VIDEO: Glass from the Holy Town
Hebron is well known for being the city of 3 [three] religions and 3 [three] civilizations, a real place of power. Perhaps that is why by twist of fate there emerged glass which looks fragile, but is centuries old, the same as Hebron.
History clatters on stone blocks of the Netherlands
It is customary to measure legs of life in pairs of worn out shoes. You tread on to discover new and glance at ancient things. And when leather shoes begin to gaze your feet, you can't help but recall huge wooden clogs that you happened to find behind your great grandmother's oven in Poltava. It is as if Ms. Holland herself salutes you, because... Is there really a person who hasn't heard about Dutch klompen?
Kabuki: thorny path of flower
Traditional Japanese kabuki theatre has always been a mystery to the European mentality: only an expert on the culture of the Land of the Rising Sun can understand a play without guide’s tips. The word kabuki is sometimes translated as "the art of singing and dancing". Why not an operetta? The essence of performance is not confined to musical presentation only...
Kazakhstan Jewelry
Famous Kazakh proverb says: “Art of a craftsman can only be told in gold and silver”. Nevertheless, no matter how skillful hands of a creator are, in order to make a truly worthy thing it takes hard work, obstinacy, and, sure enough, courage to make a claim about yourself and about your talent.
Mehndi – instead of a thousand tattoos
Every other person has considered having a tattoo, maybe not permanent but at least a temporary one. Absolutely painless application of drawings that can be altered in a couple of weeks is offered by Mehndi art – henna painting.
Vivid dance. Polka
In this cheerful and mischievous dance, the all Europe and America are spinning, modestly adding to their word "polka" their geographical location. For example, there are Finnish, Andijon or even Mexican kinds of dance. It is with this choreography that the children begin, they consider it to be the "upper class", which only the hardy dancers with a strong vestibular apparatus can do.
Tea empire of the world
Few of us, while our favourite tea is steeping, are scrutinizing about the way this drink went through to get into our mug. Of course, stereotypically, we know that most likely it came from India or China, but in fact origin can vary. In the world there are about 30 countries which are very seriously engaged in tea business, and within this community a very clear hierarchy emerges, headed by the so-called Big Tea Seven.
Закрыть
Outlook facebook page