We're taking the hated, invasive devil fish as it's known colloquially in Mexico and upcycling it into delectable El Diablito jerky, in turn creating new, better economic opportunities where we work. We are a certified B corporation.
El Diablito or “little devil” in Spanish, is a play on the nickname given to our fish in Mexico, the “pez diablo” or “devil fish”. The devil fish, or armored catfish, is originally from South America and has found its way into tropical waters around the world, causing a variety of environmental and economic problems. In Mexico, however, the devil fish population has exploded over the past 20 years and now the fish accounts for up to 70% of wild capture in areas we operate in, displacing native fish species and decimating the fishing industry.
We first started Acari as a fun side project giving workshops and cooking demonstrations in rural communities before turning it into a side hustle selling fillet to local restaurants. Eventually we decided to experiment with different dishes - our first batch of jerky blew our minds and that's when El Diablito was born! In August 2021 we also launched our line of planet positive pet treats, Pezzy Pets.
Social & Environmental Impact
We've developed a replicable and scalable model to implement in rural fishing communities across Southern Mexico. We work directly with fishing cooperatives and provide the training and basic equipment necessary for local fishermen to kickstart their own small-scale production facility and then we guarantee to purchase 100% of their production. We also work with both current and future potential suppliers to establish prices for their employees and develop strict fishing standards to target the invasive devil fish and avoid juvenile and under-sized native species.
Under this structure, fishermen earn about 40% more than they did previously fishing or in other jobs. Additionally, fishermen routinely double or even triple their daily income by selling us their devil fish by-catch. And finally, by incentivizing the removal of devil fish from local waters, we’re helping rebuild native fish stocks affected by this invasive fish.
Our Mexican processing partner, Protegra, set up their first production facility in the town of Simón Sarlat, Tabasco in the southeastern corner of Mexico and work closely with the fishing cooperative of Simón Sarlat. Together, we also source fish from several neighboring towns like San Vicente and Tabasquillo. Our next expansion will include partners in nearby Palenque, Chiapas as well.
We're proud members of the Upcycled Food Association and also donate a portion of our production to migrant shelters in Mexico.