UPESABO began in 1999, with 25 partners, a mountain of hopes, a repository of illusions, many rules and enormous desire of work.

The year 2000 was the starting point: a project with funds from Japan to build our first boats and strengthen us as an organization.

That was only the beginning of a long road that we walk keeping the same ideals that led us in 1999 to create this organization.

Until today, the year 2020, in which we find ourselves, not only us but all of humanity, in a pandemic situation that makes us fear for our lives and those of our loved ones, many things have happened.

Such as, for example, the project financed with funds from the Inter-American Foundation (IAF) on the "Lionfish Control for the Ecosystem Conservation of Bocas del Toro" that we had to carry out during this difficult time.

These and other things, we wish to tell you on this website that, God willing, it will continue to accompany us as we fight to raise our heads, to resume our activities and to achieve our dreams.



"I am Jacqueline Chiu, secretary of the Empowered Women of Bocatorian Artisanal Fishing or MEPAB, which has ten members. We are all family of fishermen and therefore concerned with the dangerous lionfish that threatens the livelihood of our families.

The impact that the aforementioned invasive fish has had on artisanal fishing in our region has long been noticed and, inviteded by Professor Martha Machazeck, president of UPESABO, we have met to combat the common enemy.

With the support of the Inter American Foundation project, we have conducted trainings on topics such as empowerment and self-esteem.

We have also made an exchange tour to Talamanca, in Costa Rica, where we have visited the headquarters of the Association of Artisanal Fishermen of the South Caribbean, in order to acquire knowledge about the use of lionfish as food, as well as in the preparation of handicrafts.

This last use of the aforementioned fish has been my main interest and since then I have dedicated myself to making various crafts such as bags, earrings, necklaces, centerpieces and others. I am also interested in collaborating in the training of other colleagues on the subject.

One of our dreams is to use the floating house "Don Patricio Chiu" to install there an information center on lionfish, while offering both the fish already prepared, in the form of ceviche, fish fingers, croquettes and any other form that occurs to us, such as crafts made with parts of it."

MEPAB obtains from MiAmbiente its status as OBS

Empowered Women of Bocatorian Artisanal Fishing (MEPAB), has received from the hands of Lic. René Rodríguez (MiAmbiente), the official communication that they have been admitted as OBS (Community Based Organization) by the Ministry of the Environment.

Its first Board of Directors was made up of:

President:   JAKELYN CHIU
Vice-President:   ELDA CHIU
Secretary:   CLAVELA WOOD

We wish all of them the best of success in their delicate duties, for the good of this incipient organization and the Almirante community.