“It might happen, but you’ll never know when. I came to understand this when my brother never came back. On that day, I made peace with fear.” So says Reyes Cosio Rosas, a shark hunter from El Sargento, a small fishing village in Baja California (Mexico). Every night he faces the dark waters of the Sea of Cortez for a living.
Explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau called this place “the world’s aquarium”; its waters host more than 900 species of fish and over 30 species of cetaceans, carnivorous aquatic mammals like dolphins. And yet, this rich habitat is in danger: years of overfishing have dramatically affected its delicate ecosystem.
Due to the overfishing in the Sea of Cortez, the community of shark fishermen – or “Tiburoneros” – from El Sargento were forced to migrate to the Pacific side of the Baja peninsula more than ten years ago. This means that they spend most of their lives away from their families on abandoned islands, which are little more than outposts at the edge of the world. Every day they journey up to 40 miles away from the coast in an infinite routine.
The series Blue Echoes, by Italian photographer Federico Vespignani, is an emotional journey that follows the relationship between these men and the powerful and dangerous nature that surrounds them. They are guests in this capricious, aquatic environment; what keeps you alive can also kill you.