You come from a family that has fished for generations. Do you remember how you felt the first time you stepped foot on the Atlante?
Atlante is a recent piece of our history and is tied to a moment particularly characterized by deep changes due to technological and operational challenges. We have overcome this moment, emerging with a strong sense of family unity and the will and doggedness to persevere in this trade at all costs. I would prefer to speak about the first time I captained, in 1960, on a 16m wooden boat, Santopadre. I was not yet 14 years old and my cousin had to set sail on Nino Testa, the bigger boat. He asked me if I was confident enough to take his place. I said yes. You can imagine the faces of the crew when they saw a young boy hop on board…In my mind I was thinking: Dear God please help me. And he did. It was one of our most fruitful weeks and the snickers of the crew changed to gestures of respect. They gave me the nickname Picciriddu (little one). Comandante picciriddu.
You do not fight with the sea. There are so many unpredictable elements and you can only seek to know the sea and befriend her. I talk to the sea. And when she gets to know you, she can help you and unexpectedly give you what you have been futilely searching for. It is not us who are good, it is the sea that is great; she is the one who helps you if you respect her, if you know how to make her your friend. It is a friendship built on commitment.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Faith. It is a job that requires you to believe in it. You are so small in front of so much omnipotence. You need courage and humility. Patience and hope. Attention and respect. In one word – scruple. A pleasant evening of fishing is a gift that you must earn. It is a priceless satisfaction.
What does fishing mean to you?
Being at one with nature. With great strength, reciprocating generosity.