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Other names: Mazaneta
Area of Production: the production is mainly localised to the Venetian lagoon, with a high concentration around the area of Burano, Giudecca and Chioggia; some of the fishermen are resident in the Municipality of Cavallino-Treporti.
Period of Production/harvest: Spring and Autumn for the “moeca” and late summer for the mazanete.
Production: according to estimates registered at the fish market of Venice that date to 1995-96, the production of the “moeca” is around 100 t for the entire lagoon.
Characteristics: a common marine crab, known as the shore crab (Carcinus mediterraneus). From the biology of this animal two edible products are derived, the “mazaneta”, i.e. the feminine species in the reproductive period (with mature ovaries) with a hard shell, and the “moeca”, i.e. male and females in the ecdysis phase, i.e. when the shell has not yet solidified. The cultivation of the “moeca” is well rooted in the local tradition, as confirmed by the stories of the elderly population. The crabs are harvested with special nets (trezze) that terminate in cylindrical traps (nasse), which are placed in the shallow waters of the lagoon. Later they are placed in jute sacks to keep them damp during transport to the working plants. In the plants they are selected according to their biological state. The “smooth” crabs are identified, becoming “moeca” and the “good” crabs that will become “smooth” in a few days time. This sorting is quite a difficult operation and it represents the critical point of the productive process. The ability in picking the crabs is the most characteristic detail of the tradition. The two different species are bred in wooden boxes with fissures known as “vieri”, suspended from poled pergolas fixed to the bottom of the lagoon (nurseries). This traditional product is under the protection of Slow Food.