From the Field: The Face of a Fishery

Father and Son Fishermen

Patricio fell in love with the ocean as a child and has been fishing professionally since the age of 16. He catches fish year round off the coast of his Ecuador home, rotating between the mahi mahi and tuna/billfish seasons. It’s a tough job, being away from his wife and two children for long periods of time. But he wants the best for them and works hard to provide all he can.

Years ago, WWF invited Patricio to participate in a program that trained fishermen on how to reduce marine turtle bycatch and collect data on fishing activities. He learned about the use of a different type of hook (circle hook) which not only catches fewer turtles, but was better at catching tuna and marlin. He also learned about the interconnectedness of marine species and the importance of maintaining a balance so that there will be fish in the future. Having observed fish catch decline over the years, he was ready to adopt new fishing methods that would help the ocean’s resources recover. And he started teaching other fishermen in the hopes they will similarly pass on the knowledge. After all, a sustainable fishery means a sustainable future for Patricio and his family.

WWF continues to work with fishermen like Patricio in Ecuador and other areas in the Eastern Pacific to reduce bycatch and improve their livelihoods. We have a strong partnership with Ecuador’s fishery agency and continue to support their efforts to improve management of their resources. We also continue to test the effectiveness of different sized circle hooks for species like mahi mahi, as part of our larger effort to help Ecuador create a sustainable fishery.