WWF and Bureo receive National Environmental Award Antonio Brack Egg 2019 for fishing net recycling project
- 640,000 to 800,000 tons of networks are abandoned in our oceans every year.
- The project proposes to create a business from the recycling of fishing nets benefiting artisanal fishing communities.
- The Artisanal Fisher's Guild of Los Órganos and the fishing communities of Coishco and Santa, as well as the industrial companies CFG-COPEINCA, TASA and Austral have committed to recycling their fishing nets, being the first actors in the fishing sector to do so in Peru.
The Antonio Brack Egg National Environmental Prize is the highest recognition that the State gives to initiatives of good environmental practices that contribute to a better management of natural resources, protection of ecosystems and solution of environmental problems. The prize has been awarded since 2014 and is in memory of the environment prime minister Antonio Brack Egg recognized for promoting the care and protection of the environment.
WWF and Bureo won in the Clean Peru category, under “Solid waste management” with the “REDCICLA: Creating a circular economy model for abandoned, lost or discarded fishing nets in Peru with artisanal fishers and industrial companies. ”The prize was presented on December 18 at the Government Palace by the President of the Republic, Martín Vizcarra and the Minister of the Environment, Fabiola Muñoz.
Why is this recognition important?
In Peru there is no adequate final provision for fishing nets at the end of their useful life. Given this, the most viable option for artisanal fishers is usually discarded at sea or in the surrounding areas of their communities. Other times they end up burning the nets, causing respiratory problems due to the inhalation of toxic fumes generated. And at sea, it results in fishing for resources that are not used, affecting populations of marine species and the ecosystem. This problem is known as ghost fishing.
According to studies by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 48% of the plastic islands in the ocean are made up of fishing nets. FAO estimates that 10% of all marine debris is made up of abandoned fishing nets or ghost gear. These "ghost nets" are the deadliest form of marine litter, affecting approximately 45% of marine mammal species, 21% of seabirds and 100% of sea turtle species in the world, according to the Biological Diversity Convention (CBD). In addition, it is estimated that between 5% and 30% of available fishing stocks are affected by phantom fishing worldwide, which represents a threat to human health and livelihoods, as well as to the World food security (Antonelis et al., 2011; NOAA, 2015; Scheld et al., 2016).
More information about the project:
In order to prevent more fishing gear from contaminating the Peruvian sea, WWF Peru and the fishing net recycling company, Bureo, designed a project to create a circular economy model for fishing nets that have completed their life cycle and usually end up abandoned, lost or discarded in Peru. The project collects these nets from artisanal communities and industrial fishing companies, and then these are processed by Bureo, which uses the fishing gear as raw material to create products such as games, clothes, glasses, among others.
The project works with two components, the first is the work with coastal communities, here you have two models. In the community of Los Órganos in Piura there is an Artisanal Fishing Pier (DPA) where a collection center is located that to date stores more than 1,000 kg of fishing nets that artisanal fishers and community members have deposited voluntarily so that later the administrator of the DPA is responsible for the subsequent sale to Bureo. The other model is seen in the communities of Coishco and Santa in Chimbote, where there is no DPA, but women from the community took charge of collecting artisanal fishing nets and storing them for later sale. Both models generate income that will be used for the benefit of the communities.
The second component of the project is the donation of end-of-life industrial fishing gear of from the companies of Copeinca, Tasa and Austral to Bureo, which is responsible for logistics and collection, currently having collected more than 50,000 kg of end-of-life gear. This contribution generates funds that are invested in coastal communities for environmental education on the problem and in the replication of the model to other communities.
It should be noted that in 1 year the project obtained the commitment of the mentioned industrial companies and coastal communities towards solutions to ghost gear. Confirming that working hand-in-hand can promote good environmental practices and waste reduction.
This project has been able to be developed thanks to the support received by the United States Department of State. In 2020 we hope to be more to do more.