Bernado Alemão Age 27
Lajes do Pico, Pico Island, Azores
Interview conducted on October 26, 2019
What us your favorite thing to do in Lajes do Pico?
Fishing of course. I have been fishing my whole life. From the shore as a kid and then in a kayak.
What is your least favorite thing?
The small town gossip. It is a bad type of gossip. People get jealous when somebody is working hard and getting ahead.
Do you see the weather changing?
Oh, the ocean is changing. As a kid we used to catch grouper, but we do not catch them anymore. The same is true for Atlantic Bonito. There used to be huge schools, this year we did not see any, even from a boat. When I was young, we used to spin cast them from shore. The waters are much warmer and the weather less predictable.
Is there anything you would like to ask or tell me?
We have the same problems here as anywhere, even in this small town. Kids have problems with alcohol or drugs. There have been a number of cocaine seizures. The Azores are a stopping point for smugglers too. Some fisherman in another town on the island noticed a bunch strapped to the bottom of a boat and took it. People in town got addicted, stayed up all night, couldn’t sleep, then turned to heroin to sleep. I wish people would just focus on nature and enjoy the sea or the outdoors.
Bernardo also talked about the bigger commercial boats and how they spray water on the top of the ocean to emulate shoals of bait fish which cause the tuna to rise. They catch tons of tuna in a day. Bernardo runs Pico Sport Fishing. He uses only artificial lures and is happy if they catch five fish a day. He seemed to really care about the people of the island and the ocean which surrounds it.
“As I reflect upon my conversation with Bernado, I find myself smiling on the generous laid-back nature of the Azorean people. Many people here seem content to do things the old way. Happy to catch 5 fish for example. Content with enough. He was quick to offer assistance and did not seem in any sort of hurry. He clearly loved nature. I’ve been repeatedly told that nature is most important. Bernardo clearly loved his island an the seas that surround it.”
– Matt Ryle