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In the Mapudungun language of the Mapuche people, the huaiquil is a fish from the Sciaenidae family, generally known as Micropogonias manni. Although various studies liken it to the Micropogonias furneri, the two fish live in different areas: the huaiquil is endemic in two Chilean lakes, the Torca and the Budi, while the Microponias furneri is found above all along the Atlantic coast of South America, from Cuba to the north of Argentina.

In particular, the huaiquil is closely linked to Lake Budi, along the coast of the Araucania region and to the populations that live along its banks. Among these, we find the Lafquenches, who belong to the Mapuche population and fish this type of fish all year round: for the community, the huaiquil, which adapts well to the salty waters of the Lake, is a basic food mostly pickled, as an ingredient of the pebre, a type of spicy soup accompanied by mote, which is a mix of boiled corn seeds.

The huaiquil is oval-shaped and long, becoming thicker near the backbone. Its head is wider than it is tall and has an almost conical shape. The fish presents a brown colour on its back and a number of oblique lines which meet on the belly, where it turns a whitish colour.

Over the course of the years, the Lake Budi area has experienced a strong rise in population, which together with the development of farming activities has contributed to the deterioration of the environment and the natural balance of the local ecosystem. Local fish species, including the huaiquil, have been affected. The pollution of the lake, along with the increasing exploitation of its resources and the introduction of external species that enter into competition with endemic fish, is slowly placing the huaiquil at risk of extinction.

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La Araucanía

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Fish, sea food and fish products

Indigenous community:Lafquenches
Nominated by:Rita Moya, Beatriz Cid, Alexis Peña