Fishing for Sustainability in Peru

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Some 2,500 square miles of ocean are at stake off northern Peru—they could become part of a new ecotourism project or be turned over to more oil drilling platforms.

In the 1950s, Peru’s Cabo Blanco Fishing Club was a famous rod-and-reel outpost—the world record black marlin, weighing 1,560 pounds, was caught here. Ernest Hemingway visited, along with other celebs.

Today, giant marlin and big tuna have been decimated by industrial fishing, the club lies abandoned, and local villagers struggle to get by.

Enter José Koechlin, a Peruvian visionary who plans to resuscitate the property as an ecolodge catering to catch-and-release fishermen, surfers (the waves are rad here), and other ocean lovers.

After years of searching, he located and restored the Miss Texasthe boat that Hemingway used. “We can create a new marine reserve to revive the sea and improve the local quality of life,” says Koechlin.

Meanwhile, oil companies continue pressuring the Peruvian government to let more drilling in.

Here’s hoping Koechlin wins this one.

This piece, written by National Geographic Traveler editor at large Costas Christ, appeared in the magazine’s October 2014 issue. Follow Costas on Twitter @CostasChrist.

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