Ålarvet

The name Ålarvet refers to the cultural heritage that has taken shape around the fishing of eels along the east coast of Skåne, called Ålakusten.

A tractor dragging freight up from the water to a beach.

Category: Knowledge of nature and the universe

Geographical location: All of Sweden

In addition to the fishing itself, with its specific tools, knowledge and organisation, it is about traditions around food and meals, buildings and boats, as well as the oral tradition in the form of stories and special designations.

The coast forms a bay with shallow, sandy beaches, and all of the migratory silver eels from the Baltic Sea countries must pass Skåne to get out into the Atlantic. Because the number of eels has declined sharply in recent decades, fishing eels is now heavily regulated. Currently, fishing is only allowed when special permission is granted.

The organisation of eel fishing dates back to the 1200s, and until the 20th century eels played a significant role in the local economy, as a means of payment and tax income. For a long time people fished according to the old methods, and the exercise has in some cases been passed down through many generations until today. Fishing is carried out from August to November, and assumes that the fisherman has good knowledge of the water depth and offshore structure in the area he is entitled to fish in. Traditionally, the eel fishermen made the special gear and boats used themselves. Now things have been modernized and the coastline's character has partially changed.

There is work in the area to spread knowledge of traditions, and create interest in different aspects of heritage, for example through cultural walks. There is also yearly "ålafestival", where participants eat various eel dishes and visit the typical buildings - small cottages for storage and accommodation - along the coast.