Joaquín Gandón Sotelo
Joaquín Gandón Sotelo is the manager of Spanish fishing company Hermanos Gandón. It operates three vessels between 54 and 77 metres in length. It fishes in the North Atlantic and catches more than 30 different species of fish including Greenland halibut, skate, grenadier and red fish.
Hermanos Gandón was created in 1951 when don Wenceslao Gandón Casal, Joaquín’s grandfather, built his own 19m wooden seiner after almost 20 years as the captain on other people’s vessels. Wenceslao successfully ran the company until 1980 when his three sons, also lifelong fishermen, took over. Joaquín took the helm in 1999 having been involved in the industry since 1980.
For Joaquín, the best part of his job is being able to provide long careers for people, with more than 20 crewmembers working with the company for over 20 years and a further 50 being with Hermanos Gandón for more than 10 years. Yet, at the same time, Joaquín fears that with the fate of the industry in the hands of people who are not fishermen, such as politicians, at any moment it could be decided to close all the fishing grounds Hermanos Gandón rely upon for reasons not related with fishing and 100 people could lose their jobs.
However, Joaquín remains optimistic and sees the global trend for natural products and food as being a huge opportunity for the industry. With fish a wild and fresh produce, he expects one day for it to become seen as a delicacy that people are willing to pay a premium for.