Just two years ago, Rafael Acuña was a typical longline fishing captain. His life was spent most of the time at sea, dealing with fishing lines, hooks, storms and long days of work. This was almost his whole life, until for family reasons he had to consider the need to leave the trade and stay on land.
They were moments of uncertainty and search for work options. And even in the best of his dreams he could have imagined the direction that life had for him. By chance, he was summoned to an interview to find the captain who would be in charge of managing the Oceanographic Information System for Fisheries, one of the projects of the Platform of Sustainable Fisheries of Large Pelagic of UNDP.
Rafael was selected for the job and his life changed. His role was to provide all the fishing experience he had accumulated over 30 years to make the system really useful for captains on the high seas.
“This is new for me. I never imagined being here in front of the computer, managing a computer program like this and I thank God for that, “she says with her eyes shining.
“It’s not easy to learn when you’re old. I am making a great effort to give my best. Even the captains who come to ask me for information are surprised that I am in this, “he says.
It took some training sessions with Spanish and French experts and quickly took off. From there everything is trial and error, and a huge desire to discover the potential that technology has available to fishermen.
“Once a” normal life “has been recovered, as it says, with a fixed schedule and lunch, your work hours are spent in front of a monitor with the sole purpose of getting the most out of this experience.
A few months after being involved in the initiative, Rafael already manages the system with great agility. He changed the rudder without problems by a mouse and from his right hand he controls precisely what appears on the screen. Now he offers talks and does a motivation work so that his former colleagues want to join the project and make it grow for the good of all.
The Oceanographic Information System for Fisheries (CATSAT) is a pilot project that is fed with the information that the captains provide of their fishing days and based on climatological, temperature and other similar data allows to identify better fishing areas for the capture of tuna, dorado and swordfish.
“Before leaving port, the captains pass by my office and we check together the best fishing conditions. We have seen good results because in this way fishing becomes more effective, the costs of alist of the boats are reduced and it even benefits the families of fishermen, because they will be able to get to the Port more frequently “, he tells us.