Fresh Fish for Sale at The New Gorgona Fishermen Co-Operative
The Co-Operative was founded on December 15, 1997 by Mr. Dagoberto Torrero Gaona, a native to Cocle Province. Gaona belonged to the Farallón Fishing Cooperative, near Decameron. “Working as a fisherman in Farrallón, on occasion I visited with the Gorgona fishermen. I realized their job was difficult and thier wages very low. So I decided to help them”. Gaona obtained an education in “cooperativismo” (how to form and manage a cooperative), and then with the support of the then Panamanian President Ernesto Perez Balladares and other government officials, the New Gorgona Fishermen Cooperative was started. “Here under this old tree we all signed the papers, and we agreed to make this new cooperative a success. We started with nothing, but through different activities we collected money for the new project. With all our work, perseverance and motivation, we gained not just the community credibility, but we also got recognition from our clients and national organizations”.
The Co-Operative is a member owned organization. Its membership is made up of local fishermen and community residents. “When we began, we had five fishing boats. Now we have 23 belonging to Co-Op members”. The Co-Operative buys fish from the fishermen and then sells to the public. Much of the fish is brought by their own members. However purchasing is not limited to membership only. Should an independent fisherman deliver a catch, they will buy it.
Co-Operative fishermen pay close attention to the tides, the season and the temperature of the water. Being dependant on the ocean for a living, they are careful not to overfish. For example, small mesh netting is not used during breeding seasons. From July to September when snapper (pargo) is abundant the fishermen use lines instead of nets.
The Co-Operative sells fish by the pound every morning. You can purchase camarón (shrimp), pargo (snapper), corvina (sea bass), corvina alona, robalo, gualajo, sierra, cojinua, bagre, atun (tuna), toyo (small shark). If you are lucky there could be a catch of langostino (jumbo shrimp) or longostas (lobsters). Don’t worry if you miss the morning session at the Gorgona Fishing Co-Operative, there will likely be a vendor in your neighborhood, who did make it, selling a fresh catch.
Getting there: To get to the fishing Co-op drive into Gorgona following the main st. until you get to Locos Backyard Grill, across from the Johnathan mini super. Make a right at Locos, heading towords the turn for La Ruina. After a couple of blocks you will see a small restaurnt with an out door patio that is no longer in operation, make a left. Continue straight around the bend, until you reach a small parking lot. A woman will ask you for $2.00 for parking if you are planning on spending the day. If you are just there to buy fish, let her know and she won't charge you.
The Co-op is located on the beach of gorgona around the point, past Bahia. In low tide you can walk the beach from Coronado to Gorgona, in high tide this walk is not possible.