Carlos was born in 1970 already facing life's challenges, for he was pulled out of his mother´s womb with broken collar bones. His webbed toes one could say was not by chance, but his destiny calling.
He came from a well off middle-class family, from German descent on his father´s side. His father was a successful business man, who expected the same of his son. However, at 8 Carlos fled home and boarded a fishing boat by forging his father´s signature. After four days spent at sea in the Atlantic ocean, off the Canary Islands, the boat returned to port to unload and Carlos went home carrying two tunas in each hand, only to be met by his grieving parents, devastated, as he was presumed dead.
He would often play truant from school and instead spend endless hours fishing alone on a mass of rocks overlooking the ocean. On one of these occasions, he was approached by an older man and his wife, who had observed Carlos fishing various days in a row. The man was so impressed by this ten year old´s ability to fish, that he wanted to be taught by him. A month later, to Carlos and his family´s surprise, in a celebrity magazine, Carlos appeared on the cover teaching the Danish Prime Minister to fish.
His parents´desperate for him to give up the idea of becoming a fisherman, sent him boarding to Belgium, but inevitably he kept running away. Finally at 16 he left school and bought his first small fishing boat with thesavings he had accumulated by selling fish over the years.
In his early twenties, whilst taking tourists out for big game fishing, death stared him in the face, for whilst battling to reel in a blue Marlin, he wound the nylon round his hand for a better grip, whilst his brother hooked the fishing gaff into the Merlin. But this huge fish, unexpectedly and aggressively submerged, swimming rapidly into the darkness of the deep black sea, taking Carlos with him. But his time was not up, as fortunately the nylon was tied to the gaff and boat and with his brother´s and tourists´ help, they managed to reel in the 10 metres of nylon, with Carlos at the other end. It was a lucky escape!
He now dedicates his life to tuna pole friendly fishing and lives with his partner and children.
Dedicating his life to this traditional way of fishing and giving it to a risky profession, I take my hat of to him, not only because his life and those of his crew are at stake, against the unpredictable temperament of the sea, but for the many long continuos hours of hard physical labour and sleepless nights away from his family weeks on end, never knowing if there will be a good catch or if he will return to port with an empty deck
I feel that Carlos, like many artisanal fisherman on these islands, receive little support from the government as well as unjust treatment, for with the constant unfair fines, continuous changes in fishing laws and unjust quotas, they find themselves often without enough money to feed their family - let alone pay the fines or keep up to day with their debts. Which means they cannot even receive the subsidies due to them, as they are in arrears. I can´t help but feel they are being elbowed out by the huge industrial tuna trawlers, environmentally unfriendly with their gigantic nets, dragging all that comes into its grasp - a carnage of trapped fish can be seen as opposed to fishing them one by one with a bamboo stick.
I admire and respect him for his determination to march on against all odds.