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Art and culture

Fishing tradition in Novigrad

What makes Novigrad incredibly authentic are its fishermen. You can still spot them on the shore, mending their nests while cracking jokes, or standing on the side, a deep wrinkle on their forehead. From ancient times to the present day, their mood has been dictated by the same constant: last night’s catch.
For centuries, people have fished in Novigrad to feed their families and local communities. Fishing is still very significant for the local lifestyle and prosperity even though tourism has taken the lead role. These two activities are closely intertwined because Novigrad fishermen deliver their fresh catch to local restaurants and konobas whose menus are largely based on fish and seafood, thrilling the palate of numerous town visitors.
A strong fishing fleet
There are currently around thirty registered fishing businesses in Novigrad. Their fleet includes trawlers that are primarily focused on shellfish and musky octopus, and a smaller number of boats that fish for soles and whitefish using bottom-set gillnets. With 48 commercial fishing licences issued, Novigrad is still among the leaders in Istria in this respect. Fishery is an ongoing activity here and there are no major oscillations as far as catch volumes are concerned. The town takes pride in a wide range of fish and shellfish catches compared to significantly bigger Croatian cities.
So if you’re visiting Novigrad, be sure to stroll along the port of Mandrač, which used to be the central place for socializing. If you count the fishing boats lined up in a neat row, you’ll see why Novigrad has survived and thrived thanks to its fishing tradition.
Preservation of the Fishing Tradition
While strolling along the town's waterfront, your attention will be captivated by digital information totems that tell the story of Novigrad's fishing tradition in four languages. At five locations in Novigrad, these modern technology information mediums will introduce you to the history of fishing in Novigrad and unveil black-and-white photographs of a different yet the same Novigrad, where fishing meant survival. They will share anecdotes from fishermen and showcase a brief video highlighting key facts about the history of a unique love for the sea, their profession, and their homeland. For a shorter version of the story, take a look here, and for a longer version with fishermen's tales, find it on our YouTube channel.
All the video and photo material for these media, along with the text crafted into captivating narratives for Novigrad's residents and guests, has been developed thanks to scholarly research on Novigrad's fishing tradition. This research forms the foundation that will forever be a written record of everything connecting Novigrad to fishing, fish catches, and other marine organisms, as well as the people who engage in this work and the impact of fishing on Novigrad's life and character. All of this is vividly retold in the brochure "Novigrad Fishing Tradition," which is available in four languages. You can download it through this link.
This bridge between the past and the present has been made possible through the resources allocated by the Fisheries Administration of the Ministry of Agriculture, under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, awarded to the "FishINo" project by the Tourist Board of the Town of Novigrad – Cittanova in partnership with the Town of Novigrad through the Local Initiatives of Northwest Istria, FLAG "Pinna Nobilis": Measure 2.3.1 – Support for activities of promotion, marketing, and preservation of fishing/maritime tradition and heritage of the FLAG fishing area. The co-financing share of public funds amounts to €59.224,00.
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