Social/Ecological Change & Why It Matters
Migration and changes in land use have increased the human impact on the environment in the Galapagos.
Turning to Tourism | 2012

In 1994, Angel Quimis moved from his home in an agricultural province in Ecuador to San Cristóbal in the Galápagos Islands to become a fisherman. Although he enjoyed being on the ocean and interacting with marine life as a fisherman, the fishing industry was becoming increasingly dangerous and decreasingly prosperous. Even on what was considered a good day of fishing, he would come home physically exhausted, and the lifestyle was taking a toll on the livelihood of his family.

"It was really a challenge to go fishing because...anything could happen to us," Quimis said. "We saw from people close to us, fishermen that died leaving their family alone."

When the Galápagos National Park began enforcing laws that imposed on the industry, Quimis and his wife, Amparito Avilez, decided to make a huge sacrifice of time and money so Quimis could become a dive master, the ultimate marine life tour guide. He and Amparito had their first child together, Berly Quimis, in 2000, which was all the more reason for the career switch. In 1999, Quimis decided to leave the fishing industry.

Becoming a dive master not only takes time and money, it also requires starting and running a business. Quimis invested in "Wreck Bay Dive Center," a startup diving business on the island, to get the diving center and his diving career off the ground. He has been with the company for 11 years now and their business is thriving. He and his business partner, Ivan Lopez, have helped drive local tourism and are both able to provide a stable home for their families. Quimis and Aviles know the time they spent working towards the lives they now lead was well worth it and are proud of how far they’ve come, for themselves and for their family as a whole.

"I think the ocean is fundamental for the earth, and that means that we have to protect it."
-Angel Quimis