U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced a new project to support artisanal fishing in both countries
Lima, October 7, 2022 - United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced today that the United States, in its effort to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, is launching Por La Pesca (For Fisheries), a new project that will help the artisanal fishing sector and promote sustainable fishing in Ecuador and Peru.
“Today I saw firsthand how IUU fishing threatens the health of our oceans and, as a result, the livelihoods and food security of coastal communities in Peru. It is because of this that the United States is committed to combating IUU fishing globally. The United States continues to support the ability of coastal countries and their communities to confront IUU fishing,” said Secretary Blinken.
IUU fishing threatens the sustainability of artisanal fisheries and biodiversity, as well as the livelihoods and resilience of coastal communities. This new project promotes sustainable and profitable fishing practices in Ecuador and Peru.
Por la Pesca is the result of a joint effort between the Walton Family Foundation, which contributed $12.5 million, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which provided an initial $5.7 million. The NGO Peruvian Society for Environmental Law (SPDA) will lead Por la Pesca’s implementation in alliance with Redes Fishing Sustainability, Pro Delphinus, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), Future of Fish, Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP), The Nature Conservancy Peru, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Peru, and WildAid.
Secretary Blinken announced this project during a visit to the Chorrillos artisanal fish market, where he met Ricardo Laos, President of the José Silverio Olaya Balandra Association of Artisanal Fishermen of Caleta de Chorrillos; Elsa Vega, President of the National Society of Artisanal Fishing; Jessica Hidalgo, Project Director and SPDA representative; and Marcela Escobari, Assistant Administrator of USAID’s Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean.
“There are fewer fish, and we must go out to sea for days to find fish. That creates economic problems for us. Many of our families make livings from fishing,” noted Laos
Por la Pesca seeks to empower and formalize artisanal fishing organizations that fish for flying jumbo squid, mahi-mahi, tuna, and octopus in Ecuador and Peru.
“Illegal harvesting of marine resources threatens the livelihoods of women and men who seek to operate honest and responsible fishing businesses. The goal is to ensure these seafood products are captured in a humane and environmentally friendly way,” said Jessica Hidalgo.
“Through this investment, the United States is championing an approach that balances conservation of marine ecosystems with equitable economic growth and the rights of small-scale fishers. We call on other countries to actively participate in and support the international community in fighting IUU fishing,” stressed Secretary Antony Blinken, who came to Peru to participate in the 52nd General Assembly of the Organization of American States.
“With an estimated illegal financial flow of over $23 billion dollars annually, IUU fishing is often associated with other transnational organized crimes, such as drug and arms trafficking, forced human labor, and human trafficking. Globally, USAID counters IUU fishing by empowering communities and civil society, and partnering with the private sector, just as we are doing here in Peru and Ecuador,” added Escobari.