To build an industry around the invasive devil fish, creating new, better jobs for affected fishermen.


We're taking the hated and feared armored catfish or 'devil fish' as it's known colloquially in Mexico and transforming it into a tasty, nutritious product to increase employment in rural fishing communities. We envision a day where the armored catfish is no longer viewed as a curse but rather a blessing to help solve economic and nutritional issues in Mexico.  


El Diablito Jerky

What started as an experiment to provide fish for people on the move has developed into a "devil" of its own.  Acari made its first batches in a small industrial dehydrator in Mexico City and distributed small quantities throughout the Bay Area and LA.  Now, Acari has teamed up with large co-packers in the U.S. and Canada to scale production and craft newer, bolder flavors.  We’ve launched in Canada and the official El Diablito U.S. launch will be in November or December 2019.  Send us a message if you want us to alert you when we launch!

Fillet Picture.jpg


We've developed a modular system where we train local fishermen and provide the equipment to process and package the fish. We buy the products ready for market directly from the fishermen, creating an economic value for what has historically been considered a 'trash fish'.  Through this arrangement, fishermen earn approximately 20%-25% more than they would in other available jobs in the region.  We then manage the logistics and distribution.  We sell fillet to restaurants and corporate kitchens throughout Mexico and soon in the U.S. as well.  Contact us for more information.



In what we're calling our quadruple bottom line, we realize that we're sitting on a gold mine of cheap, nutrient-rich protein and want to get it in the hands of those that need it most. We donate a significant portion of our product to people in need in Tabasco and Mexico City. 



Acari Fish was born in May 2016 immediately after CEO Mike Mitchell finished his Fulbright fellowship studying small-scale fish farming in Tabasco, Mexico. During the fellowship, he had discovered that the true problem in rural fishing communities had nothing to do with fish farming, but rather, the much reviled 'devil fish' as local fishermen called it.  

After asking around the local university and researching online, Mike realized that the 'devil fish' was actually the plecostomus or 'armored catfish', a common fish in household aquariums known for its voracious algae appetite.  Based on well-known success stories where producers gave formerly discarded species like the orange roughy and Chilean sea bass makeovers, Mike asked, "Why can't we do the same with this fish?"  

And that's exactly what Acari has done since 2016 — through a series of workshops, presentations and tasting events, Acari has worked to change the perception of the devil fish in Tabasco, one mouthful at a time. The team has implemented its first 'module' in the community of Simón Sarlat to process the fish. Through partnerships with chefs around Mexico, Acari began selling devil fish fillets, in turn providing a new source of employment to local fishermen.  In the summer of 2017, the Acarí team began experimenting with fish jerky, and started selling small batches of its El Diablito jerky in the United States in November 2017. 

Catfish Provision

As we were gearing up to bring Mexican devil fish into the US in April 2018, we came up against the recent USDA catfish provision. It’s a long story but essentially Southern catfish farmers from states like Alabama and Mississippi lobbied for changes to slow the flow of cheaper imports, primarily from Vietnam. The new regulatory changes stipulated that foreign countries interested in exporting catfish to the US had to enact a series of policy updates, something Mexico has still not done. We’re working with the Mexican government to enact these changes but for the time being, we’re sending Mexican devil fish to Canada while we build sourcing capacity in Florida and Vietnam for the US market. We’ve been in contact with our representatives in the US as well, advocating for a wild-caught exemption to this USDA provision. We wrote a comprehensive letter that includes a detailed background on the catfish provision and our case for an exemption. If you feel so inclined, please share with your representatives and ask for an exemption to the catfish provision! We’ll keep fighting to bring El Diablito to the American market soon!