Small-Scale Fishing Communities Around the World
SSF Highlight October 2022
ConCiencia Marina shares perspectives and experiences from fishers in Peru
Over the last few months, ConCiencia Marina has carried out outreach activities with organizations of small-scale artisanal fishers affected by the oil spill in the towns of Ventanilla, Ancón, Aucallama and Chancay. With support from the SSF Hub, ConCiencia Marina and these organizations held Local Dialogues, together with local leaders from the Cabo Blanco and Ancón communities, creating a space for fishers to come together to share experiences and challenges.
This month’s SSF Highlight shares event summaries and key points from two Local Dialogues held in Peru.
Cabo Blanco: Small-Scale Fisheries as part of the Blue Economy
Cabo Blanco is a cove located in the north of Peru that has become famous for the large marlins in the area and is visited by many tourists for its great biological diversity.
The fishing activity in Cabo Blanco is rich and diverse; the main resources extracted in the area are tuna, bonito, saws, cabrillones, pejes and damsels. Over the years it has been shown that these species have decreased considerably, both in quantity and size, due to the fishermen's little awareness of the growing fishing effort and looming climate change.
The Local Dialogue held in Cabo Blanco was attended by 11 people including local fishermen, merchants and workers from the district municipality of El Alto, the municipality in which the Cabo Blanco fishing cove is located. The event facilitated the exchange of knowledge and ideas among the attendees covering topics such as aquaculture, direct marketing, responsible fishing and tourism in Cabo Blanco.
Ubaldo Tume, a local fisherman and participant, mentioned the need to identify, and make visible, funds from the government and other entities that allow the development of training to face climate change and promote other development opportunities related to the sea and fisheries.
Ubaldo, along with other artisanal fishermen in the area, has formed the company Pioneros del Pacífico (Pioneers of the Pacific), that seeks to directly market their products, generating greater and better benefits for the fishing community. It is currently running a pilot project to guarantee the traceability of its fishery products. This project allows final consumers to know the information on the origin of the product, the fisherman and the fishing gear used as well as visualize the fishing task and processing through a QR code. This project has managed to expand markets in the best restaurants in Lima and provide better income to local fishermen.
Ubaldo also shares that in May 2022, the new Desembarcadero Pesquero Artesanal – an Artisanal Fishing Infrastructure where the activities of unloading, commercialization and previous tasks are mainly carried out of the hydrobiological resources destined for direct human consumption – was inaugurated in Cabo Blanco. This new infrastructure has stimulated interest in obtaining sanitary authorization for fishing vessels and obtaining a fishing permit.
He says that, “today, traceability is giving us a little more vision to maintain the sustainability of our resources and avoid their depredation. We hope in the not too distant future to have protected areas so that our species endure and so that our future generations can continue feeding much of our beloved Peru.”
Participants also shared comments on other topics of interest that are affecting local fishing such as the presence of trawlers that harm their fishing areas, breeding areas and ecosystem in general, and oil spills due to the presence of nearby extraction platforms that have obsolete infrastructure and generate sources of contamination in the resource extraction areas.
Other main key points from this event were:
- The presence of private entities and academic institutions who are providing technical support for the implementation of productive and sustainable projects was mentioned. An example of this is the scallop aquaculture project with the support of the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia.
- Likewise, it was also commented that projects for the use of other species such as oysters and pearl shells are being carried out with great participation from women.
- As part of the suggestions from the participants, the need to carry out more studies was mentioned in order to take advantage of the diversity of the area and local resources of great commercial value such as sea cucumber, barnacles, oysters, etc.
- Finally, the importance of promoting the participation of young people in fishing and other related activities was mentioned to guarantee that projects with a sustainable approach are lasting in the long term.
Fishing and Direct Marketing
- Pacific Pioneers is a company made up of 22 partners dedicated to the direct marketing of the catch of the day and providing high-value products. It is important to highlight that the company offers traceable, fresh and value-added products and all fishing vessels are sanitarily authorized by the National Fish Health Agency (SANIPES).
- As part of their objectives for the benefit of the fishing community, they seek to collect more products to offer better benefits to fishermen.
- Rosmery Querevalú, a woman involved in direct marketing, commented on her trajectory in the activity and how marketing has generated greater benefits for her family and her community in general.
- The Cabo Blanco pier does not have adequate authorization or infrastructure that allows the conditions to promote tourism in the area. However, there is a great predisposition in the community to be able to exploit local tourism by promoting whale watching and other recreational nautical activities. The community seeks to reposition Cabo Blanco as the great tourist area for sport fishing as it was known in the 1950s.
Ancon: Challenges and Opportunities in the Face of the Oil Spill
Faced with the spill of more than 11,900 barrels of oil that occurred on January 15, 2022 on the coasts of Ventanilla (Callao) and the north of Lima, five coastal districts were affected, along with fishing communities due to the contamination of their fishing areas. “After almost two years of economic paralysis due to the COVID-19 pandemic, local fishermen and businesses saw the summer of 2022 as an opportunity to generate more income by returning to their main economic activities — fishing, restaurants, beach services and local nautical tourism,” shared local fisherman, Abel Ramirez Trebejo.
Nine months after the environmental disaster, there are still areas with the presence of oil in which cleaning activities have not been carried out. In addition, the execution of inefficient practices for beach cleaning has been evidenced. One of these areas is the Serpentín de Pasamayo, an area of difficult access in which several organizations of artisanal fishermen, such as the Toma y Calla Association represented by Germán Melchor, were dedicated to capturing fishery resources of high commercial value such as chita (Peruvian grunt fish) and flounder. To date, the contamination is still present so extractive activities cannot be carried out and there is great concern due to the presence of hydrocarbons in the intertidal pools where some coastal organisms develop.
The Association of Artisanal Fishermen of Ancón (APESCAA) is a community of fishermen dedicated to various types of fisheries such as coastal fishing with nets and pinto, diving, shellfish harvesting and deep-sea fishing. There are great initiatives in the community to improve the management of its resources and sustainable fishing. The shellfish association has been working together with The Nature Conservancy to develop capacities to promote responsible fishing, implement self-regulation systems, rotate catch areas and establish great precedents in the self-management of fishing activities.
The Association has positioned itself as a pioneer in the management of waste products from fishing activity through its participation in a project co-financed by the National Program for Innovation in Fisheries and Aquaculture (PNIPA), the Technological University of Peru and ConCiencia Marina, in which more than 7 thousand liters of oily waste from boats have been allocated to recycling, generating income for the association, reducing pollution and promoting the circular economy.
The Local Dialogue held in Ancón was organized in coordination with Abel Ramírez and the Association of Artisanal Fishermen of Ancón for 36 attendees. This event was an opportunity to identify development alternatives and potential productive diversification activities in light of the limited development of artisanal fishing due to the oil spill.
Participants addressed the following topics:
Interest in Productive Diversification
- ConCiencia Marina and the National Program for Innovation in Fisheries and Aquaculture are executing a project that promotes the productive diversification of people affected by the oil spill with three differentiated components:
- Manufacturing products with fish leather
- Strengthening local tourism activities
- Improving capacities for the management of local enterprises
- Courses are being developed at the Center for Productive Innovation and Technological Transfer of Leather, Footwear and Related Industries (CITE CCAL) with a target audience of people who were involved in the fileting and commercialization of fish in the dock of Ancón.
- The fishermen expressed their interest in having a pilot program for the processing of fishery products in order to offer products with added value. To do this, they expressed the need for a specific area but above all, the requirement for training in handling, good practices, health and safety. This type of initiative could encourage the employment of women filleters and retail traders in the area and also promote access to new markets with direct sales to homes and restaurants.
Strengthening Existing Activities
- Faced with the oil spill, coastal fishing activities are restricted. Fishermen considered it important to receive courses and talks on fishing management and the sustainable use of the area's resources to apply this knowledge once fishing activities restart.
- A group of pintero fishermen mentioned the interest of fishing in areas adjacent to the Island Group of fishermen, however, they are aware that information is required about the productive levels so as not to prey on the resources that exist in the area.
The Need for Information on Environmental Impacts
- The general community expressed the need for studies to identify the level of impact of the oil spill and quantify the time in which fishing will be restricted and it is necessary to know if it is safe to consume local resources such as rockfish, shellfish and coastal fish such as silverside and mullet.
ConCiencia Marina is an interdisciplinary group of professionals based in Peru, committed to environmental issues, the sustainability of marine resources and the social responsibility involved in fishing activities. Their objective is to promote the protection of the marine-coastal ecosystem with a solid scientific base in order to involve key actors to assume a leading role that generates a positive impact in caring for the environment and guaranteeing the sustainability of the means.
Learn more about ConCiencia Marina and follow their work here: https://www.facebook.com/ConCienciaMarinaPeru/
This article is part of the SSF Highlights series of articles published regularly to the SSF Hub. To read previous SSF Highlights, follow this link.