Première of the ethnographic film “Alima” on the Messolonghi – Aitoliko lagoon traditional fishermen

n the framework of the Mediterranean Consortium for Nature and Culture, with funding from MAVA Foundation, MedINA has been working in the Messolonghi – Aitoliko lagoon for the past two years. The focus of the project has been the traditional fishing techniques practiced in the lagoon and specifically the ivari practice that uses permanent barrier traps to capture fish during their seasonal or ontogenic offshore migration. In effect, the Ivari -ten of which can be found in the lagoon- are natural fish farms still largely managed based on traditional knowledge by eight local fishing cooperatives, found in the same location for over a century.

Within the context of the project, an ethnographic film has been produced, in collaboration with the Athens Ethnographic Film Festival, which provides a contemporary anthropological look on the lifeways of the Messolonghi – Aitoliko ivari fishermen. The name of the film is “Alima” which is a term local fishermen use and means ‘to go fishing in the ivari’. The film will make its première on Saturday 22nd November in the Ethnographic Film Festival in Athens (Ethnofest) and will be part of a set of films screened under the theme “Man and the Environment”.

The film focuses on the one of the ten ivari areas in the Messolonghi lagoon, the ivari of Komma, and documents the daily life of the fishermen, through their labour and their relationship with the unique lagoon environment. The filming took place over a year and was powered by Olympus corporation and supported by the Management Body of the Messolonghi lagoon. We hope that the film will not only provide a visual anthropological record of traditional fishing in the lagoon but will also raise awareness on the importance and reality of the practice to a diverse audience.