When talking about fish in Alqueva, it is mandatory to talk about Pedro Santos. This freshwater fisherman, with whom we met at Praia Fluvial de Monsaraz, started early in his work, with his grandfather, yet the dam was nothing more than a mirage, a paper project.
Praia Fluvial de Monsaraz, Albufeira do Alqueva
Reguengos de Monsaraz
+351 963 983 743 (Pedro Santos)
Carlos Teixeira, Herdade do Esporão
Texto de Tiago Pais
Fotografias de Tiago Pais
When talking about fish in Alqueva, it is mandatory to talk about Pedro Santos. This freshwater fisherman, with whom we met at Praia Fluvial de Monsaraz, started early in his work, with his grandfather, yet the dam was nothing more than a mirage, a paper project. “At that time, we were going to the river to get what was there. But it was only when the dam was built that serious fishing started”, he recalls.
Pedro, who is also a wild boar, partridge, and pigeon hunter, among others, today dominates the waters of Alqueva reservoir like few others. This doesn’t prevent, however, that enthusiastic about the conversation takes the boat to a shallow area where the propeller of the engine marks an immediate encounter with a stone or sandbank. We were adrift, for a moment, waiting to be towed on another boat. The hitch gives us more time to talk.
Natural from Motrinos, municipality of Reguengos de Monsaraz, Pedro has six employees who fish for him. “I am the only fisherman in Portugal who has health control for freshwater fish”, he says. The quantity thus obliges him, as we’ll be able to prove shortly afterward - already on board of a new vessel, we went to the nets that he had placed the previous day, to collect the barbels and pike that were stuck there. And they're stuffed.
They are not the only case. Traps for red crayfish, an invasive species, are also well populated. “I pick 300 to 400 kg a week”, guarantees Pedro, who exports a good part of that quantity. "The strongest market is the Swedish one," he says. The shad and eel also appear in this area, especially to the south of Pedrógão. It will be for another time because today this boat is already full.