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A life towards the river

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The Miño-Sil basin has an area of ​​17,619 km2. The Miño river has a watershed of 8,288 km2 and a length of 315.15 Km , It is born in the mountains of Meira and flows into the estuary of A Guarda, on the border with Portugal. It forms one of the major electricity producer regions of Spain. With a tail of 50 km, the Belesar Dam (654 hm3) accumulates the greatest reservoir of water of Galicia and is the largest reservoir in northern Spain.

The old village of Portomarín has been praised as one of the most beautiful villages of inland Galicia. It was like a fishing village inland. The Miño river was the heart of a settlement which was constantly looking towards the water, a flow which meant leisure, work and food.

Few towns inland can show off a fishing tradition like Portomarín. For centuries, the river Miño was, after the land, the second livelihood of the inhabitants. Fishing, mainly eel, served to supplement income for many families and, in some cases, it was almost the only way of life for some of them.  

The constructions known as 'caneiros' were popular and very important to catch fish. They consist of a wall or several, parallel or oblique, in the course of the river, which guide the way of fishes, making them easier to capture. These constructions were family owned and inheritable.

Fishermen and other people used simple but effective country boats to sail on the Miño river as well as to carry animals. 

 The association O Carrual, which joins fishermen from the municipalities of Portomarín, Paradela, O Páramo and Guntín, keeps alive this old way of fishing eels and recovers a very important ethnographic heritage. The association was founded in the 90's and groups 33 "caneiros", many of them shared by several families. Fishermen return to the environmental authorities a significant number of adults that are taken back to the sea to complete their life cycle.

The eel is the fish which gives more fame to the village of Portomarín. In the mid-twentieth century, the eel was a great source of wealth for the village. Nowadays, they are still a gastronomic emblem and are prepared fried, in savory pie or stewed.

The trout is the most common fish in local waters.

The lamprey (Petromyzon fluviatilis), which is actually wiped out, was also fished and masterfully cooked in the old village of Portomarín.