Cabanas de Tavira was first founded for tuna fishing in the mid-19th century. Dozens of fishermen used to set up huge nets to trap the schools of tuna as they migrated along the coast. The fishermen lived in cabins on the island (“cabanas” means huts or cabins) until the sea swept their homes away in 1963. Then they rebuilt their houses north of the lagoon and switched to catching other fish and octopus on small boats.
To see what tuna fishing was like in the 1960s, watch this 25-minute documentary film.