Celebrating this date is not just about thanking the fishermen for a good ceviche. Peru wants to be able to combine environmental protection with tomorrow’s sustainable food.
More than ten years have passed since the United Nations General Assembly established this memorial service. Phenomena such as climate change and excessive use of marine resources are forcing humanity to rethink the ocean as a sustainable food source for millions of people on the planet.
Connecting the protection of the environment with the sustainable food of the future does not necessarily come from the source, and even less so when one thinks of the sea, which is mainly perceived as a place of leisure. But on this Oceans Day – celebrated every June 8 since 2009 – it’s crucial to explain why we must take care of the sea while we think of feeding a world population which according to the UN will have increased by 33% by 2050. Therefore, our survival will depend in part on the protection of marine resources.
Peruvian Juan Carlos Sueiro, an economist, expert in fisheries, crafts and industry who has been a consultant to the FAO and the World Bank, explains “that it is possible to increase the abundance of the oceans – and of course the Peruvian Sea – thanks touse of scientific criteria to combat pollution, overfishing, illegal fishing and “by-catch” fishing; (when fishing is concentrated on one species and other types of fish, birds or marine mammals are caught by accident). Achieving this is not so difficult: only 29 countries besides the EU are responsible for 90% of the world’s catches ”.
Still, the scenario is worrying, data published by the FAO indicates it half of the world’s fish stocks are overexploited. The various state and non-state entities are therefore seeking to reverse this trend of over-exploitation. ‘The governments of the coastal countries, like Peru, must commit to achieving recovery of hydrobiological resources through management with an ecosystem approach, that is, which takes into account the interaction between all components of the environment and which adapts to variations in the state of resources and the climate. According to figures projected by the NGO “Oceana”: Since 1996, there has been a decline in world fisheries of 14% per year, a figure that could be reversed and even reach a growth of 15% thanks to the recovery of the sea as a natural food source ”.
“There are positive examples that show us the way forward. In Japan, snow crab catches increased by 240% by protecting habitats from trawling. From another angle, a total ban on the release of unwanted fish in Norway has been introduced, which increases cod recovery in the Arctic by 18% per year. And finally, in the United States, catch limits have been set based on scientific criteria. Result: Overfishing fell from 38% to 16% between 2000 and 2015 ”.
Therefore, while it is not uncommon to perceive Oceans Day from an economic and social point of view, it is worth remembering that seafood products represent an important food source and provide employment to about 820 million people on the planet. Therefore, in Peru, the celebration of this date should make it possible to involve the actors working on a large scale with the sea and to demand an active commitment against illegal fishing, against plastic pollution in the Pacific and against the side damage of fishing. which gradually reduces the potentially prosperous future of this coastal country.
Protection of marine resources in Peru: combating illegal fishing
Peru has just taken a new step in its fight against the wildlife trade on 27 April 2022. The Commission on Justice and Human Rights unanimously approved a bill to allow illegal animal trafficking to be covered by the law against organized crime.
While the final decision will lie with the Congress of the Republic, this bill marks a crucial step in the fight against illegal cash trading in Peru, including the problem of illegal fishing. This law would make it possible to fight a crime that is as harmful as it is profitable for the mafias operating at national and international level: illegal wildlife trade is the fourth most lucrative business on the planet and is considered an organized crime in the world (so that is not yet the case in Peru).
In Peru, illegal fishing represents about $ 500 million a year, according to the Ministry of Production. Similarly, between 2000 and 2018, more than 80,000 live wild animals were seized. Despite this, the Peruvian authorities do not have the legal tools to prosecute, settle and punish the mafias operating behind them, therefore the importance of such a bill that can make illegal trade in wild animals to be considered organized crime .
The sea, the fourth region of Peru
Peruvian children all learn in school that Peru is divided into three major regions: the Amazon (“Selva”), the Andes (“Cordillera”), and the coast (“Costa”). But in this coastal country, which has 3,000 km of coastline, the sea is very present, as a fourth region whose protection and exploitation are crucial to the country’s economy.
The confluence of cold and warm water makes the Peruvian North Sea a magical and privileged place, with a unique biological diversity to be protected. Scientists even regard this area as a “place of hope” for the rest of the world. In addition, more than 60% of the fish consumed in Peru come from it.
With a focus on a day in the life of a craftsman, the documentary produced by Oceana Peru “Mar Nuestro” articulates thoughts and complaints of more than 20 people directly and indirectly involved in the seaknowing that the most aggressive predator for the sea is man!