Hoyt Peckham, Ph.D.

Title
Director General
Institution
SmartFish
Address
Madero 2895
City, State
La Paz, Baja California Sur
Country
Mexico
E-mail
peckham[at]stanford.edu
Award Year
2014

Research

Hoyt Peckham is director general of SmartFish, a social enterprise based in La Paz, Mexico, that incentivizes more sustainable artisanal fishing. In Mexico’s Baja California peninsula, as in much of the developing world, fishermen are often forced to sell their catch for very low prices. These low prices drive a vicious cycle of overfishing that is undermining their livelihoods and communities. As a result of the low quality of the seafood produced, consumers and chefs along the Sea of Cortez are forced to import locally available seafood. Nonprofit organizations and the local government are curbing overfishing through various forms of catch reduction, but ’neither can achieve economic stability from these measures as the artisanal fishers largely bear the costs involved. In northwest Mexico, Peckham developed SmartFish, a nonprofit social enterprise focused on finding new markets for responsibly caught fish. SmartFish empowers fishermen and their families to catch and produce seafood at the highest quality and higher sustainability. He is now using his Pew fellowship to explore how best to expand its successful model regionally and internationally. To expand SmartFish, Peckham is conducting site visits and convening seafood experts with related expertise to build a community of practice, produce practical manuals and other materials, and plan how best to apply the methodology to other small-scale fisheries around the world. If successful, SmartFish will cultivate demand for seafood and facilitate sales to the upper middle class and hospitality industry. The result will be that fishermen can double their earnings while catching less than half as much as before. For more information on Peckham’s work, visit: http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2013/11/01/smartfish-catching-gold-in-the-fish-market and http://www.academia.edu/4298992/Building_a_Better_Poundnet