Fishing with memory
Burgau is a fishing village in Budens, municipality of Vila do Bispo. It owes its name to the abundance of whelks, a gastropod mollusc, locally known as burgau or burrié, on its shores.
Mankind has always had a continuous presence in this land, from the Stone Age to the Romans. The later had a strong link to fisheries and to garum industry (a sort of condiment, widely used in ancient Rome), as witnessed by the remains of salting fish tanks. The imposing fortress of Almadena (the Arabic word for minaret) is a testimony of the Arab presence. In the 17th century there was a tuna trap (almadrava) and, in the 19th century, Baldaque da Silva acknowledged the existence of a beach seine and a sardine trap (acedares) in front of the ridge known as Ponta da Cama da Vaca; these were evidences of the importance of this fishing village.
Presently, the tourism industry sets the pace in the village, which has a large number of its fishermen working in Lagos. Still, Burgau retains the wisdom and the memories of its fishing people.
Currently, there are 9 boats (3 coastal boats, operating from Lagos, and 6 local) and 30 active fishermen; this is slightly less than the 16 boats (6 coastal, 10 local) and 41 seafarers registered in 2000. The favoured fishing gears are gill nets (nets with only one wall), pots and clay pots (alcatruz); the main catches are red mullet, axillary seabream, soles, octopus.
Despite the demand towards Lagos, in search of better conditions, the fishermen of Burgau can count on a ramp, a winch, occasional transport of the catch by the municipality van and a new warehouse, which soon will be provided by the municipality of Vila do Bispo.
When it’s meal time, the preferences of the community are fish stews (caldeirada), grilled fish (including sea mullets), burgau omelettes and stuffed squid.
The processions of Nossa Senhora do Perpétuo Socorro (Our Lady of Eternal Succour) endure through time and take place every year by late summer (September). In contrast, fishermen’s popular festivals (lasting 2-3 days and including traditional games, such as reaching the top of a greasy boat mast), only persist in the memory of the elders, who still remember the time of underwater harvesting of seaweed.
Burgau Fortress (or Bateria), Almádena Fortress, Praia da Boca do Rio, scuba diving at Batelão do Burgau.