At five years old, Paco’s father introduced him to the ocean for the very first time.
Like many of the fishers in Pisco, Paco’s father emigrated from the highlands of Puno to Pisco to become a fisherman.
At 12, Paco began free diving for shellfish such as scallops, octopus and limpets. His instructor, none other than his father.
Paco boasts as he explains how he is the oldest member of the Beatita de Humay Fishers’ Cooperative. He was also elected as president.
When Sustainable Fishery Trade was searching for allies to scale conservation in the region, they came across someone who’s urgency and concern for the ocean was rapidly increasing. This person was Paco.
With Sustainable Fishery Trade, Paco found a partner to take action regarding the problems that were troubling him: the livelihood of fishing communities and the prevalence of marine species populations.
At 55, everything he does, he does for future generations.
Sustainable Fishery Trade (SFT) is a social enterprise based in Lima that pays fishers above market-rate prices, with the caveat that marine resources are fished sustainably and adhere to conservation regulations.
Most fishers in Pisco sell to large industrial intermediaries, who then sell it to larger distributors. This process places no attention to size, quality or species bans.
Like Paco, most of the fishers in Pisco have come from Puno in search of better opportunities.
As the conservationist and businessman that he is, Paco came came to his Cooperative with an idea: to breed their own scallops in the wild. To do so, they coordinated with local government to set a ban on the collection of small scallops long enough for them to reproduce.
The results were optimal. This pause allowed the scallops to breed and reproduce. It created an uptick in the volume of large scallops Paco and his partners could sell to buyers prioritizing sustainability, like SFT.
For Sustainable Fishery Trade, working with fishers like Paco, who value conservation of the ocean goals is ideal. To date, it has trained 750 people in fishing communities and provided income-generation opportunities for 135 fishers.
Day by day, Paco works alongside younger fishers to make sure that they have the motivation to continue down this path of sustainable fishing.
To support fishing communities in its supply chain, SFT also developed a mobile application that ensures traceability of seafood in real time.
Paco in his home. Ana Sotelo for NESsT