About the project


The project started in 2014 in Súa, a small fishing town in the north of Ecuador as part of the research of two students from Colombia and Ecuador. After working in a cooperative effort with the local community that led us to understand the impact of fisheries
in the populations of migrant cetaceans, we centered our attention on this species whose conservation is often overlooked.

Since then, we have studied the genetic connectivity, population structure, ecology, and threats yellow fin tuna faces in Galápagos, and the coastal waters of Ecuador and Mexico. Our work requires collecting samples of muscle, gonads, and otoliths from the fish, during seasonal trips to fishing ports and on-board fishing vessels in different areas.

A few years ago, we started the “Great Fishes of the Eastern Pacific” initiative to spread information about the yellowfin tuna
and ocean issues, to educate the public about the importance of great fishes, and to manage the volunteers of the project.
While GFEP is centered in education, BuscaPez is our next step to canalize the donations for the project and, later, develop a service for the fishermen. During these years, our work has heavily reliedon funding obtained through grants and scholarships,
but as the scale of the project grows, the need for funding increases exponentially.

That is why we try to share, with you and as many people as possible, this insight on the crucial importance tunas
have in the health of the marine ecosystems and how valuable they are for the artisanal fishing communities
and kindly ask anyone to generously donate to BuscaPez and help us continue working towards
the conservation of the yellowfin tuna.

Our Lines of research are


After getting muscle samples from the fishing ports, we extract the genetic material and, through advanced genomic analyses, we can accurately identify the population structure of the tunas in this region.


We measure levels of various heavy metals (prominently mercury) in samples from various species including yellowfin tuna and their stomach contents, blue footed boobies, sea lions, and humans, in order to understand how these metals move and accumulate along the food chain, and how that impacts these species.


We have programmed a tagging program to help us understand how tunas move around the Tropical Eastern Pacific. In the first stage of the program, we will attach radio and satellite tags to living tunas and monitor their movements for various years. This information will be vital to identify residency and migration routes.


One of the samples we take at the fishing ports is the otolith.
Otoliths are “earstones”, small roughly round bones located near the fishes’ brain. These bones grow as the fish grows, gathering important chemical information about the environment the fish lives. Analysing the otoliths in the lab lets us estimate the age of the tuna they were taken from, as well as characteristics of the environments it visited.


In order to protect this species, we need to determine an accurate size at which they reach sexual maturity (i.e. they can contribute to the next generation of tunas) and where they are having their babies. Protecting these spawning grounds is an important step to guarantee the long-term survival of fish like tunas.

Help a tuna now!

Thank you for your contribution with our project.


If you want to see your brand here, contact us