Current Affairs
Researcher spends 7 years on Marsaxlokk fishing boat to study fishermen’s jargon

In a public talk photographer and researcher Gilbert Calleja spoke about the research he carried out for seven whole years, spending time on a Marsaxlokk fishing boat in order to study the jargon used by fishermen.

Speaking with Television Malta, Mr Calleja explained that his direct experience with fishermen led him to produce an Internet documentary about the potential of the structures of language and writing.

He said that at the beginning of the research he began documenting the fishermen’s work through photography, but he eventually began to include videos. He said that an interesting turning point in the research was the discovery of an antique diary filled with valuable details.

“What was interesting in the context of the fishermen, is that the grandfather of the captain who is today the captain of the boat, used to keep a diary throughout his 40 years on the job and it includes details of all his fishing trips.”

He said that this study is of interest because it casts new light on the type of fishing known as sajda bil-lampiera (night fishing) which is in danger of being lost. “This type of fishing is dying out, Maltese fishermen are decreasing and foreign fishermen are on the increase, which in itself is interesting because there is a cultural exchange.”

Antoine Abela, the captain of the boat, Joan of Arc explained that this type of fishing is different to other types. “We fish at night using lamps, and the boat is lit, we catch the fish using nets and not hooks.  I think we are people who are more seafarers, there are about seven of us.”

This project was carried out on the intuitive of the Department of Maltese at the University of Malta, with research funds from the University and the support of Klabb Kotba Maltin.

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