Date: 11 July 2023
Nomination made by: Organización ProDelphinus.
José Miguel Ángel Fiestas has been fishing for the past 25 years from the port of San José, Lambayeque, Peru, is affectionately known as “Papelio” to his friends and close colleagues.
In 2008, he connected with ProDelphinus, and ever since has participated in and supported various workshops, trainings, symposia, and international exchanges where he has been able to learn about many topics such as conservation of endangered species, selective fishing, bycatch, and the importance of marine species, with a special focus on sea turtles.
Additionally, he had the opportunity to travel to Mexico to get to know the on-the-ground work on leatherback nesting beaches. All of this experience has informed his contributions to research projects, sharing information about his sea turtle bycatch interactions while fishing, and implementing best handling and release practices of leatherbacks on more than one occasion.
But José Miguel’s journey doesn’t end here. His versatility has allowed him to participate in various educational campaigns about protected marine species. José Miguel is a member of the Friends of Nature Association (ADLA is the Spanish acronym), allowing him to continue to be a voice within the fishing community to grow the number of fishermen actively working to protect sea turtles by implementing best release practices, with the broader goals of conserving marine animals while promoting sustainable fishing. José Miguel is convinced that sea turtles play an important role in marine ecosystems, and that proven methods can reduce bycatch impacts for these animals.