Hugo Sánchez Ortiz

2022 IVLP Award Project: Traceability - Sustainable Fishing in Artisanal Fishing CommunitiesCosta Rica

Hugo Sánchez Ortiz is a Costa Rican technologist who believes that science, social inclusion and sustainability are the keys to social development. He holds a degree in Mechatronics Engineering from the Costa Rica Institute of Technology and a master's degree from Anhalt University of Applied Science.

In 2019 Hugo co-foundered of Remora Fishing Traceability, a Costa Rican company that has been working hard in the development of powerful technologies to achieve sustainability in the small-scale fisheries, environmental awareness, fair trade and the wholistic progress of the fishers and their communities. Their goal is to bring sustainability back to the ocean through technology. Hugo is currently the chief scientific officer at Remora Fishing Traceability.
IVLP Impact Award Project: Traceability - Sustainable Fishing in Artisanal Fishing Communities
Over the last two years, Hugo led the development of technological tools for traceability for artisanal fishers communities. His idea was to create a traceability stamp that allows the fishers to place their products in a more valuable market. The traceability stamp would generate better incomes and reward sustainable practices in the ocean. The traceability stamp corresponds to a Vessel Monitoring System called the Smart Scale. The scale is installed in fishing ports and takes pictures of every fish being unloaded from a boat. Through image processing and artificial intelligence, it analyzes the species and metrics like weight and dimensions. The information is then processed in the cloud and all the statistics and analyses are a “click” away in real-time. Hugo and his organization have already developed and installed the smart scale for small-scale fisheries, but with the IVLP award, a traceability seal in the artisanal fish will be implemented. The traceability stamps create a platform that allows the end customer to know more about the fish that they are buying.

This project developed a technological traceability stamp that allowed 15 artisanal fishers in Tambor, Puntarenas, to allocate their products in more specific, valuable markets. By giving local fishing communities better access to technology, Hugo’s project generated a fairer income for each community and allowed the end customer to know more about the fish that they are buying. The traceability seal also made it possible to demonstrate the implementation of sustainable practices and open new markets with higher standards. Through a partnership with the Instituto Costarricense De Pesca y Acuicultura  (INCOPESCA), the project gained national attention and is in the works to continue in other fishing communities across Costa Rica. The project serves as a showroom for INCOPESCA for the adoption of this new approach that generates more value for the fish caught artisanally. Hugo wants to continue working with them in looking for an opportunity to replicate the initiative in other artisanal fisher communities in Costa Rica. In the next months, the technology will be deployed in the communities of El Coco and Puntarenas. Both communities are located on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica.

IVLP Exchange Experience 

Hugo was a participant in the IVLP Project Combatting Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing organized by the U.S. Department of State and the Mississippi Consortium for International Development (MCID).

Hugo's exchange experience led to the development of his IVLP Impact Award Project: "The IVLP enables leaders to pursue a better world."

U.S. Communities Visited Virtually

Washington, DC; Miami, FL; St. Petersburg, FL; Tallahassee, FL

Country: Costa Rica

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