On Friday November 16th, EcoViva and the Mangrove Association hosted a Sustainable Fisheries Forum: A Sustainable Alternative to the Threats in the Bay of Jiquilisco, in the community of Puerto Parada. EcoViva has been working to promote sustainable fisheries in the Bay of Jiquilisco for the last 5 years, providing small-scale fisherpeople a viable alternative to blast fishing and other destructive fishing practices that are applied in the bay.
The forum was the first of its kind in El Salvador: an opportunity for fisherpeople to come together with organizations and government officials to discuss issues of fisheries management. There were representatives of 14 different fishing cooperatives (some of whom used to practice blast fishing), and 6 NGOs working in the region such as Caritas, ICAPO, Ayuda en Acción, and ProPesca. There were also representatives from the local government, the National Police, the Legislative Assembly and the Ministry of the Environment.
The forum and created a space for fisherpeople, organizations, and government officials to dialogue about fisheries management in the Bay of Jiquilisco. The Mangrove Association shared the progress of its current study on the impact of the artificial reefs and the experiences of the different cooperatives. EcoViva, the Mangrove Association, and the cooperatives were able to share their model for sustainable management- pesca limpia– with other organizations. They also brought to light the threats from blast fishing and other unsustainable fishing methods practiced in the bay, including the indiscriminate catch of fish with fine nets intended for sardines. The forum also provided a platform for the cooperatives to ask the Ministry of the Environment about the process of receiving the proper permits for the artificial reefs they install, as some of the cooperatives have been waiting for years for an answer.
As a result of the forum and their experience in the bay, EcoViva, the Mangrove Association, and the fishing cooperatives called for a revision of the national fisheries law, improved management of the fisheries, and a higher level of involvement from the government.
On November 29th, the 14 fishing cooperatives will meet again to dive deeper into the current fisheries law and the revisions that the fisherpeople would like to see. They will discuss all of the different types of unsustainable fishing that are practiced in the bay and how they affect the environment and the people participating in sustainable fishing, pesca limpia.