Keywords:maritime territory, fishing community, Póvoa de Varzim, intangible heritage, mental maps, maritime backyards, maps
In order to improve their professional activity, fishermen have developed special methods and procedures for organising the space of their maritime territory. This article presents some of these practices, based on the specific case of the fishing community of Póvoa de Varzim, a town on the north coast of Portugal. Over the years, each fishing family has developed mental maps of the “seas”, creating original names to identify certain places and their different characteristics, while simultaneously producing a remarkable intangible heritage. Together with the productive transformations that were characteristic of industrialisation, traditional fishing methods have also gradually changed, incorporating the use of electronic navigation devices and other mechanisms for the detection of marine resources. In this way, the sea has begun to be mapped digitally through a system of “maritime backyards” that divide the space according to the fishing gear used. The aim of this work is to map and compare the maritime space produced by traditional fishing methods and by the contemporary system of “maritime backyards”, giving visibility to practices and territories that are normally absent from the representations of places.