Since the 16th century, fishermen living around Peru’s largest port have harvested the sea as a means of survival.

Their way of life, however, is soon bound to change.

Many of them fear a project to modernize El Callao, transforming it into the most important port on South America’s Pacific coast, forcing them to abandon fishing.

Development of the port undertaken by APM Terminals, a global shipping industry giant based in the Netherlands, will expand port operations over the next several years.

The impact that modernization may soon have on fishing isn’t the only worry weighing down on the port’s fishermen.

Decades ago, Peru’s coastline provided a plentiful bounty rich in sea life. However, overfishing has depleted the waters of scorpion fish, horse mackerel and mullet.

Fishermen once arrived at El Callao’s pelican-infested docks and sold as much as 110 pounds of fish. These days, no more than 15 pounds are offered.

It’s been said Peru’s notable oceans for fishing was allegedly the inspiration for Ernest Hemingway’s 1952 novel, “The Old Man and the Sea.” Texas A&M University has classified Peru’s coast as one of the world’s richest fisheries.

Based on reporting by the Associated Press.

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