Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

El Callao, Peru: Life on the sea

From the Denver Post

Fishermen living around the port of El Callao, Peru have harvested the sea as a means of survival since the 16th century. Now, a global shipping industry giant based in the Netherlands is planning a project to modernize El Callao, Peru’s largest and oldest port. The project will expand port operations over the next couple of years and many fishermen fear the modernization of the port may have a negative impact on their livelihood. Already some fishermen are concerned that overfishing has depleted the waters of scorpion fish, horse mackerel and mullet. Fishermen once arrived at El Callao’s docks and sold as much as 110 pounds of fish. Nowadays, no more than 15 pounds are offered.

Associated Press photographer Rodrigo Abd spent time throughout November and December documenting the lives of the fishermen and dock workers of El Callao. Navigating the waters off Peru’s 1,490-mile (2,400 kilometer) coastline can be extremely risky. The fishermen know they cannot trust the sea, recognizing their return to port is never guaranteed.

Peru Fishermen Fears

In this Dec. 5, 2012 photo, seabirds hover nearby, as fishermen ride on a “boliche,” the Peruvian term for boats that are used by fishermen who fish with nets, in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of the port of El Callao, Peru. Development of the Peru’s largest and oldest port undertaken by a global shipping industry giant based in the Netherlands, will expand port operations over the next couple of years. Many fishermen fear the modernization of the port may have a negative impact on their livelihood. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

Peru Fishermen Fears

In this Nov. 9, 2012 photo, Juan Mont, 76, a former shell diver, now works guarding “boliches,” the Peruvian term for boats that are used by fishermen who fish with nets, at the port of El Callao, Peru. Development of the Peru’s largest and oldest port undertaken by a global shipping industry giant based in the Netherlands, will expand port operations over the next couple of years. Many fear the modernization of the port may have a negative impact on their livelihood. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

APTOPIX Peru Fishermen Fearsn this Dec. 1, 2012 photo, fisherman Alvaro rows a small boat during a fishing expedition in the Pacific Ocean, off the coast of El Callao, Peru. Fishermen living around Peru’s largest and oldest port have harvested the sea as a means of survival since the 16th century. Many fear a project to modernize El Callao, transforming it into the most important port on South America’s Pacific coast, will force them to abandon fishing. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

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