Taking the chain of product value in hand

Chile | Valdivia | Niebla

The organization Pesca En Línea was formed by an initiative of the Interregional Federation of Artisan Fishers of southern Chile ( FIPASUR), dedicated to finding new and more advantageous opportunities for the fishermen of the Los Ríos region and to guaranteeing them, specifically, more thorough participation in the chain of the value of their products as well as better earnings.

The project, which is dedicated to the direct marketing of the products of sea-fishing, works to make the market more transparent and the capitalization of fishing resources more sustainable, thus raising the value of the product and contributing to the idea that the artisanal fishing sector is a key economic factor in the country’s development.

The implementation of the project, which included a preliminary study on the producers and clients as well as the opening of a new business, was co-financed by subsidies allocated from the Corfo fund, or the Corporation for Production Development (Corporación de Fomento de la Producción).

Currently Pesca En Línea is supplied by roughly one hundred artisan fishers working on various segments of the Chilean coast who have ties to various professional associations (though at the moment they are all natives of the  Los Ríos region). The organization sells marine products such as conger eel, razor clamssea bass, smelt, the mollusk known both as Chilean and loco abalone as well as several varieties of shellfish such as the common mussel that the Chileans call “shoe”. Lesser-known specialties are also offered, like the chancharro and the cabrilla (both similar to stonefish) and rollizo (a kind of Chilean bass), not to mention diverse benthic products (those that come from the sea floor) like huepo (a bivalve mollusk similar to razor clams) and the chorus giganteus, a sea snail that is endemic to the Chilean coast. 

Chancharro, for example, is a red colored fish which is caught accidentally when fishing for dogfish, rays and conger eel. It is a delicious, high-quality product but until recently there was no market for it: the only people who appreciated this fish were the fishermen themselves, who were wont to simply take it home to cook it. Pesca En Línea also promotes the consumption of luche, a Chilean variety of seaweed that is beginning to be found more often on the tables of culinary experts of the region.   Pesca En Línea has begun a partnership with the gourmet association “chef de Los Ríos”, an organization that showed great interest in a distribution model that on one hand guarantees the freshness and the artisanal origin of the product, while on the other allows the restaurateurs to present their clientele with a much broader range of marine products. In this way area restaurants and hotels can differentiate their offerings and serve a greater number of regional fish specialties.

The consumer, however, can also procure marine products directly from us : in the Valdivia metro area there is a home delivery service, and some ethical purchasing groups (GASes) like the co-op La Manzana have begun to collaborate with us. As an alternative the customers can come to pick up their fish directly at the fish market of Niebla.

The fish arrives in our stands the same day that the order takes place or within 24 hours, and it is guaranteed to conform to all sanitary rules, thanks to the supervision of a food engineer and a very rigid distribution protocol. The fish arrives at the market of Niebla within an hour of having been caught, but in the case of ships of greater tonnage that fish further offshore, therefore remaining at sea for longer periods, the fish is conserved at low temperatures in specialized cold storage rooms. The portion of the fish that is frozen is treated with the most secure technologies (for more information on the quality criteria, see http://pescaenlinea.cl/corporativo/criterios-de-calidad/).

The project is interested in launching new collaborations with universities and research institutions for all aspects concerning the sustainability of the fishing industry and product quality. The Institute of Agrarian Sciences and Technologies of the Southern University of Chile, for example, carries out research and examinations on the quality of our products, whereas the consulting firm Bitecma performs studies on the razor clam colonies in the Valdivia river estuary. Some of the fisheries have even begun the process of MSC eco-certification, and the fishermen themselves have received credentials within a program of skilled-labor certification that aims to define sustainable fishing resources to be entrusted to the care of artisanal fishers with proven professionalism.    

Pesca En Línea guarantees that all its products conform to the rules and laws set down by the Chilean office of control and supervision, the Servicio Nacional de Pesca.

In the near future Pesca En Línea will work to enlarge the platform that has been tested in Los Ríos with artisan fishers of other regions, working in favor of sustainable fishing and consumption, promoting fishing instruments and techniques that are ever more responsible and, as for the clientele, encouraging a more sensible form of consumption that values fish that are in season, or better still the day’s catch, which varies depending on what the marine ecosystems offer, thus presenting a model for a sustainable marine diet.

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