The blog post below is a translation of an article about illegal and harmful fishing practices in the Bay of Jiquilisco. It was published by La Prensa Grafica on August 19, 2012. The original Spanish-language version can be found here.
EcoViva and the Mangrove Association are working with local people to promote sustainable fisheries and build awareness about the dangers of blast fishing. Visit our environmental protection page for more information.
Written by: Héctor Rivas
The Shrimping Cooperative Las Doce Playas of the Puerto Parada canton, Usulután, has requested support from the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (MARN) to be able to develop sustainable fishing that would avoid the use of explosives.
Walter Chávez, member of the cooperative, said that approximately 38 fisher people who previously used explosives have not for the last month. However, he warned that they need economic resources to strengthen the sustainable fishing project and avoid discouragement among fisher people.
“An attempt to avoid the use of explosives is being made, as many lizards and other species have died. We ask that they support the sustainable fishing group because it has been left without economic resources, due to the fact that it will take a year to develop good holes for sustainable fishing,” indicated the representative of the cooperative.
The cooperative Doce Hojas has 128 hectares, of which the greatest part is used for catching shrimp.
Some of its members have lost parts of their arms due to poor manipulation of explosives while fishing.
Among the projects filed by the cooperative is the construction of artificial reefs that would make increased fishing yields possible without the necessity of explosives.
A few days ago, members of Doce Hojas who were finishing up their fishing work rescued a hawksbill turtle and an American crocodile that ended up in one of their ponds.
The turtle was transported to El Pajarito Island to be freed, while the crocodile was moved to the Puerto Barillas zone. Both are sectors of the Bay of Jiquilisco. The animals were found in perfect health.
Chávez explained that said action demonstrates that caring for the bay’s resources is among the cooperative’s objectives.
Lina Pohl, Vice-Minister of MARN, said that community collaboration in these kinds of rescues is important and indicated that a meeting with different organizations and the cooperative would be coordinated to establish the mechanisms that would benefit all parties.
“The turtle keeps the mangroves healthy and in this way maintains fishing for them. The cooperative has told us: ‘We are here.’ They say that they will contribute to the eradication of the use of explosives. We have agreed to meet with different sectors to tackle this matter,” said the functionary.
Pohl highlighted the advancements in greater consciousness toward the care of said species demonstrated by the fisher people’s rescue of the turtle and crocodile.
The Vice-Minister indicated that they are in constant communication with safety institutions to ensure compliance with the prohibition of the use of explosives.
“There is a prohibition, and we are meeting with public prosecutors and the police constantly and carrying out operations and inspections in order to avoid blast fishing. Fisher people and communities have to notify us when they see turtles. We are going to help them in this effort that some are making,” she noted.
About a month ago, a hawksbill turtle freed in the Bay of Jiquilisco with satellite transmitters to track its behavior in the Salvadoran coasts died from the use of blast fishing explosives.
Translated by: Alaina Marie Sylla