In the olden days, salt was a limited and very valued element, to the point it was used as currency. Roman soldiers received their payment is salt, that’s where the word “salary” is coming from. Salt was used to preserve food and prevent dehydration caused by high temperatures and intense physical activities.
The exploitation of the saltworks had been very important in the Canary archipelago. The activity not only was a source of employment, but also part of the social and economic framework of the islands. The development of the saltworks was related to the fishing activity in Gran Canaria or the tinned food in Lanzarote after the civil war. Up to fifty-six saltworks were in operation on the islands, productive and profitable. Some of them, like Janubio (Lanzarote), Fuencaliente (La Palma), Tenefé and Playa de Vargas (Gran Canaria) are the last examples of this traditional activity. As they disappear, environmental, cultural, historic and human heritage go with them.
The saltworks of Bocacangrejo were built by the end of the XXI century, around 1889. Salt was at its very peak by that time and 17 saltworks were registered on the south west cost. Its typology relates to model ancient saline mud. They are still active, though far from its optimum performance. Stands out the unique mural in good condition. Located in front of a farm and along a stretch of relatively undisturbed coastline.
The stretch of coastline bounded by the front of the farm still has the remnants of the former salt marsh where the salt plot is inserted bounded by a single perimeter fence, peering into a large beach with pebbles almost unaltered.
Next to the salt a wind farm is located with four wind turbines, which creates a curious contrast to this traditional ethnographic work. The characteristic vegetation are scrubby bush-psamófilas halophilic species appearing on the beach a salt marsh of great interest to birds.
Besides the importance that the area appears as artificial wetland for birds shorebird interest, it should be highlighted the landscape regeneration potential, being able to rethink the restoration of salt marsh, together with integration of the agricultural front and access roads.
These ancient salt mines have a high ethnographic and typological interest, which highlights the preservation murals of beach pebbles.