News & Blogs

Arghacería: seaweed harvesting

6 May 2021 | By University of Vigo

Image | Algas mariñas na praia, A Guarda / Seaweeds on an A Guarda Beach

Recollendo Arghazo_Foto cedida por Antonio Martínez / Collecting seaweed -Photo courtesy of Antonio Martínez.
Recollendo Arghazo_Foto cedida por Antonio Martínez / Collecting seaweed -Photo courtesy of Antonio Martínez.

(Scroll for English)

A Guarda é mar! O mar é…
Arghacería: colleita de algas

A recolección de algas ou arghazo é una actividade destinada ao abono de terras de labranza ou para a venda á industria farmacéutica e cosmética. Trátase dunha actividade que fortaleceu historicamente as economías familiares na costa atlántica e que, aínda hoxe, se continúa a practicar na Guarda.

A súa recolección pode facerse no mar ou na terra. Na colleita “a flote” empréganse gamelas, embarcacións tradicionais para recoller o arghazo do mar coa axuda dun cramoeiro, unha ferramenta que consiste nunha longa vara que remata nun bico con rede. Así, apáñanse algas ancoradas en pedras e rochas e tamén aquelas somerxidas nas augas. Unha vez amontoadas, lévanse para o tendal, enténdese e reméxense ao sol para secar.

As ferramentas utilizadas para “salvalo arghazo do mar” son as maos, cavóns e ghanchas para amontoalo; tinas, carretillas e carros para transportalo.

Son recollidas algas de diversas especies, coa marea baixa e ao longo de todo o ano, especialmente entre os meses de outubro e marzo. Algunhas das variedades máis usuais son a “Xerez” Agar-Agar (Gelidium Sesquipedale), “Undaria pinnatifida” (Wakame), “Himanthalia eleongata” (Espagueti de mar), kelps (Kombu) ou Nori (Porphyra umbilicalis).

Esta práctica salvagarda unha lonxeva sabedoría comunitaria ligada aos ciclos do mar, á toponimia e á cultura mariñeira.

Video ceded by the Municipality of A Guarda.

A Guarda is sea! The sea is…
Arghacería: seaweed harvesting

The harvesting of seaweed or arghazo is an activity intended for the fertilisation of agricultural land or for sale to the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. It is an activity that has historically strengthened family economies on the Atlantic coast and is still practised today in A Guarda.

It can be harvested at sea or on land. In ‘afloat’ harvesting, ‘gamelas’ – traditional boats used to collect seaweed with the help of a ‘cramoeiro’, a tool consisting of a long rod ending in a mouth with a net – were used. Thus, seaweed anchored on stones and rocks or submerged in water were caught. Once collected, they are spread out and stirred in the sun to dry.

The tools used to “save the sea’s arghazo” are hands, cavóns and ghanchas to pile it up; tubs, wheelbarrows and carts to transport it.

Seaweed of various species are collected at low tide. They are collected throughout the year, especially between October and March. Some of the most common varieties are Agar-Agar “Xerez” (Gelidium Sesquipedale), “Undaria pinnatifida” (Wakame), “Himanthalia eleongata” (Sea Spaghetti), kelps (Kombu) or Nori (Porphyra umbilicalis).

This practice safeguards a long-standing community wisdom linked to the cycles of the sea, toponymy and seafaring culture.


Blog written by Atlantic CultureScape Project Partner University of Vigo

Share this post