Acari Fish
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The Company

Mike Mitchell founded Acari Fish in May 2016 following his experience as a Fulbright research fellow in Tabasco, Mexico.  Originally from Los Angeles, Mike had spent years working with sustainable fisheries and aquaponics before coming to Mexico to research small-scale fish farming.  Once in Tabasco, however, he quickly discovered that the true problem in rural fishing communities was not related to fish farming but rather the much feared '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 veracity in consuming algae.  Based on well-known studies of other fish like the orange roughy and Chilean sea bass, where producers gave formerly discarded species a new name and a makeover, Mike asked, "Well, why can't we just 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.  By partnering 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 formally launched the El Diablito jerky brand in November 2017. 

 

What We Do

In Southern Mexico the invasive "pez diablo" or armored catfish has decimated the freshwater fishing industry. Accounting for 80% of wild capture, misinformation and stigma surrounding the pez diablo has led fishermen to throw this "villain" away but it's actually a great tasting and highly nutritious fish! We've worked with local communities to commercialize the fish for over two years - today we sell our El Diablito jerky in bold teriyaki and kickin' chili lime flavors as well as packages of fillet.  

 
 
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El Diablito Jerky

What started as an experiment to donate fish to people on the move has developed into a "devil" of its own.  Acari currently makes each jerky batch by hand in its facility in Mexico City and distributes the product in Mexico and on a limited basis, in California.  The official El Diablito U.S. launch will be in April or May 2018.  Send us a message if you want us to alert you when we launch!

 
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Fillet

We've developed a franchise 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 a historical '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 to inquire!

 
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Support

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. 

 
 

Mission

Transform the devil into an angel. 

Vision

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 longer viewed as a curse but rather a blessing to help solve economic and nutritional issues in Mexico.  

 

 
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