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Suche (Trichomycterus rivulatus) is a freshwater fish, native of the catchment basins and rivers of the Andean highlands.
It can reach 30-40 cm in length and weigh up to 1.5 kg. It has a slender body and its color ranges from light brown to lead gray. The skin, without scales, is covered by a viscous substance. Small sized individuals live in affluents or lagoons, while the larger ones live in the deep waters of large lakes, such as Titicaca.
Suche fishing has a long standing tradition: near Pukara, archaeological finds and representations reveal the gastronomic and ritual importance that fish has had since ancient times.
Traditionally, fishing activities were concentrated in August and September, when the water level would usually go down. Adult men would catch suche with harpoons, while the fishermen’s sons caught them with fish traps. Before being eaten, the fish was salted as eating it raw was considered unhealthy. According to another fishing method, artificial canals called tumos were built along the banks of the lake, so as to trap suche while it spawned its eggs.
For the Aymara people, suche is an indicator of the climate conditions and, as a consequence, of how farming is doing. If the fish spawns near the banks, the season will be rainy and not very productive.
In the local gastronomy, suche is used as an ingredient for soups, or it is fried and served with potatoes or other boiled tubers.
The intensification of fishing, along with the introduction of less selective fishing techniques (such as nets) have damaged the stock of this species and others. In addition, climate change and pollution are exacerbating the problem.

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La Paz


Production area:Lake Titicaca, Puno, Perù

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Fish, sea food and fish products

Nominated by:Dauro Mattia Zocchi