Miedo y respeto. Fear and respect. Those are the twin values that guide Reyes Cosio’s relationship to his work. He is a tiburonero, a shark fisherman in Baja California. It is a lonely, dangerous, dwindling job.
Forget the size and strength of his prey: the ocean is the true danger. Numerous shipwrecks in recent years have finally led coastal authorities to instate an SOS system for small boats, but the rescue units are rarely able to intervene in time. Nearly every tiburonero has lost a friend or relative to the ocean—Reyes’ brother disappeared while out fishing five years ago.
Tiburoneros from El Sargento, a small village on the Baja peninsula, generally work 14 hours a day when they are out fishing. They are away from their families for weeks at a time, living at a small fishing camp on the island of Cabo San Lazaro, which is only accessible by a two-hour boat ride from the nearest village, Puerto San Carlos.