Bahia de Sechura Scallops

OVERVIEW:

Sechura Bay, Perú located in the middle of the Sechuran desert is home to 10 fishing communities and thousands of fishermen. Here in Northern Perú the Humboldt current and Ecuadorian currents meet, forming some of the most productive, diverse waters in the world. Sechura is historically a fishing region, heavily dependent on the sea for subsistence and economic opportunity. It’s also poorly developed  where citizens often lack basic services like running water, sanitation, and electricity. Scallop farming in Sechura has become a crucial industry, bringing a tremendous source of employment, income and development to Sechura never before experienced. But with the boom has come unprecedented growth, and heavy use of the benthic ecosystem.

Peruvian Calico Scallop (Concha de Abanico) is one of the most important, and unique fisheries in Northern Perú, with domestic use and great demand from European and North American markets. The fishery combines low impact aquaculture and natural processes to support the production of tens of thousands of tons of wild scallops annually. Fishermen collect wild scallop larvae from the water, protect this seed in special nets till they reach juvenile size, than release the juveniles to grow to adulthood in natural benthic environments in the Bay of Sechura. The practice of using divers greatly reduces impacts on the environment compared to dredging, the dominant practice in scallop fishing which can destroy benthic habitats and results in high rates of bycatch. Also, scallop catch and grow fishing has no inherent bycatch and a lighter impact on the benthic community than dredging. Harvesting seed from the environment also maintains existing scallop populations, providing food for predators.

The partners’ ultimate goal is to support a vibrant scallop fishery that has minimal impact on the natural environment. Because final customers are often willing to pay a little bit more to know their seafood comes from well- managed fisheries, using the MSC sustainability process to gain certification may increase the price paid and thereby improve the lives of hardworking local fishermen and processing workers.

PARTNERS:

  • Local scallop fishermen and engineers
  • Ecologists Without Borders (EcoWB)
  • Centro de Innovación Productiva y Transferencia Tecnológica pesquero Piura (CITEpesquero Piura)
  • Consejo de Maricultores de Sechura

TEAM MEMBERS:

  • Eric Knudsen, Project Supervisor
  • Trevor Eakes, EcoWB Project Manager

ACTIVITIES & PLANS:

EcoWB is exploring how our volunteers can assist scallop growers and communities in achieving greater sustainability and recognition for their fishery. We are promoting scientific research of they Bay and working to educate fishermen and stakeholders on the importance of sustainable practices. EcoWB fisheries scientists trained in fisheries improvement science and methods are assisting as requested by local stakeholders.

EcoWB and partners will  evaluate the sustainability of the scallop fishery using their training and experience in Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) methods for evaluating the sustainability of fisheries, a method that is applied to many fisheries around the world. The first step in the process is to conduct a formal Pre Assessment which will help to determine whether the fishery is ready to enter the MSC certification assessment or that it needs to undergo a Fisheries Improvement Project (FIP) during which various ecological and fisheries management practices would be improved to the level qualifying for MSC certification. We are hoping the Pre Assessment will be completed in 2020.

June 2019 – Preliminary discussions with local stakeholders about their interests in pursuing fisheries improvements.

September 2019 – Applications for funding, site visits and meetings

September 23-25 2019 – Latin American FIP Community of Practice meeting in Lima to update our FIP activities and share about our progress.

October 2019 -December 2019 – Begin Pre Evaluation of the Fishery

January-March 2020 – Stakeholder building and FIP launch

 

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