Carlos – Charlie – fist pumps me. His only two scraggly teeth are decaying but still his smile to could light up a city. He fears shaking my hand for he has been working with murky water and slime since before the sun rose. I ask him about his life as a fisherman – or, as I was corrected, un pescador artesanal.
“Soy el primer y ultima,” he says. His eyes are deadlocked with mine and just to make sure I understand, he repeats slowly. “El primer y ultima.” The forefinger shakes for emphasis.
I ask him about the future of the fishing industry in the once prosperous port. He’s not hopefully. Within the next five years, the outlook is grave. Overfishing is a large problem across the planet: there is a high demand for pescado.
Enter Andrés Silvia. his skin leathered from years of daily hard work: In the sea, on the port, under the sun. Around his eyes, harsh wrinkles turn soften into laugh lines. He is an old soul, he understands that despite the hardships (syn) this life presents him, everything will be okay in the end. His eyes are kind. It is with him that I learn the term pescadores artesanales.
Chile, is the number one exporter of salmon, and according to some of the fishermen at the mercado, there is unfair competition (of sorts) between the artisanal fishermen.
This partially fueled a protest on the July 2.
— Phoebe McPherson (@pnmcpherson) July 3, 2014
soy el primer u ultima – I’m the first and the last fisherman.
las barcas – ferrys, commercial fishing boats
pescado – fish
mercados – the fishing market
los pescadores artesenales – artisanal fishermen