Second half of the 20th century. Wood. Associació Museu del Mar Collection. Donated by Albert Sanabra Illa
AMM – 1218 i AMM – 1219
The nets often get torn because of the weight of the catch, because of dolphins or fish like tuna, or they simply break from tension and wear and tear. When this happens, they have to be repaired, otherwise the fish would escape through the holes or damaged parts.
The netters or menders are the people in charge of mending the nets. They do this by spreading the net on the ground and lying the part that needs repairing, over a chair. Today, this trade has virtually disappeared, and in the port of Vilanova, where thirty years ago there were fourteen menders, there are now only two.
The darning needles are specific tools of the trade, and they can be threaded continuously with very long threads so that the nets can be repaired without having to stop and rethread. Up until the 60s, the needles were made of wood or reed, a resistant yet flexible material. Even so, they became worn and often broke through continual use and the tension from the knots made in the net. Today the darning needles are made of plastic, and there are different sizes depending on the hole in the net. The largest ones are for the nets with greater mesh size, and the most commonly used needle is the small one.