Yesterday the celebrations of the Virgen del Carmen took place, and although the tradition of carrying the Virgen out to sea on a fishing boat is well documented, there are other acts which take place in the fishing ports of the region on this same day.
One of the least documented, but of most importance to the fishing community is the act of giving part of their catch to local charities, and in the morning the fishing fleet of Cartagena gave 300 kilos of fish, including sardines, octopus, shellfish, and hake to local associations which help the sick, homeless, old and unemployed, namely the Torre Nazaret, El Buen Samaritano, la Casa Cuna, el Hospital de Caridad, la Hospitalidad Santa Teresa, el Asilo de Ancianos, la Casa Hogar Betania and the Hermanas Cistercienses.
There are a total of 40 boats within the fishermen's Cofradía, the Cofradía de Pescadores, supporting over 100 families through fishing from Cartagena port.
However, times are changing, and the fishermen are finding it increasingly difficult to compete with farmed fish, and survive due to changing economic and environmental conditions, allied with restrictive quotas and declining wild fish stocks. Yesterday the fishermen said that they had seen sales fall by 30% from the previous year, boding badly for a diminishing sector, predicting that within 10 years, there would be no fishing fleet remaining in Cartagena.
During the evening the fleet took the Virgen del Carmen out to sea, this year carried by the boat, Siempre Kalima.
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