Small-scale artisanal fishers sell high-quality fish to San José restaurant
Bejuco, Guanacaste: On December 16, small-scale artisanal fishermen and women from the Association of Coyote Port Fishers-ASPEPUCO and the Association of Bejuco Fishers -ASOBEJUCO located in the district of Bejuco brokered their first direct sale of fish to the upscale restaurant and distributor Product C located in Escazu, Costa Rica. The 70 kilogram sale of fish included spotted snapper, yellow snapper, and mahi-mahi and were all caught with bottom long lines.
The sale demonstrates the artisanal fishing sector’s ability to provide high-quality seafood to consumers in the country’s central valley while advancing the Bejuco and Coyote fishers’ efforts to become internationally certified by the Marine Stewardship Council as the first sustainable bottom long line fishery in Costa Rica. Similarly, all fish sold were at or above the size of first reproduction meaning that fishermen and women are allowing fish to reproduce before catching them – an important component of a sustainable fishery. The direct sale of fresh fish to restaurants and distributors like Product C is also an innovative way to involve new stakeholders interested in supporting the development of small-scale artisanal fishing associations.
According to Pretoma’s Erick López, “The Coyote and Bejuco fishermen and women have been working for years to develop a sustainable fishery, and their sale of fish to Product C is a great example of how buyers in San José can contribute to the socioeconomic improvement of artisanal fisheries”.
What makes ASPEPUCO’s and ASOBEJUCO’s sale to Product C unique is the direct nature of the transaction. Fish were literally passed directly from the fishers to a company representative without the inclusion of a middleman. Because every fish was tagged with information including the date and location where it was caught and its weight, the process assures product traceability and freshness for the consumer. Not only this, but by selling their fish directly to Product C, fishers are able to earn more per fish than they would had they sold their catch to the existing chain of custody.
Despite efforts by the Costa Rican Fishing and Aquaculture Institute-INCOPESCA to develop responsible fishing areas along the country’s coasts within the framework of the FAO’s Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, there are currently no responsible and/or sustainable fisheries in Costa Rica primarily because of a lack of sufficient fishery production data. For this reason, Bejuco and Coyote fishers have worked with Pretoma researchers since 2007 to collect this information in order to develop sustainability parameters, as well as create local markets and direct sale opportunities for fishers with an emphasis on the socioeconomic development of these small-scale artisanal fisheries and the coastal communities where they are located.http://www.pretoma.org/small-scale-artisanal-fishers-sell-high-quality-fish-to-san-jose-restaurant/Press Releases