Women from the San Jose community are key partners in protecting the guardians of the ocean: sea turtles
At a global level, sea turtles are organisms that play a fundamental role in ecosystems, because they help maintain the health of the ocean. However, they are considered among the animals most threatened by bycatch and their populations are known to be declining at an accelerated rate.
In Peru we can find 5 of the 7 species of sea turtles in the world: the green turtle, loggerhead turtle, hawksbill turtle, leatherback turtle and parrot-beaked turtle. All of them are in danger due to the threats they face throughout their life cycle and along the migratory routes they travel. In fact, Peru is one of the countries with the highest rate of bycatch in the Eastern Pacific.
Globally, it is estimated that 1 in 1,000 newborn turtles reach adulthood, because of this, conservation actions are key to changing this reality. Therefore, WWF Peru focuses on training fishers, non-governmental organizations and State institutions in the proper handling and release of sea turtles to ensure their survival.
One of the main activities is the installation of LED lights in fishing nets, studies carried out in Baja California, Mexico showed that they reduce bycatch by up to 60%. Since 2016, WWF Peru has joined these efforts, promoting the implementation of this technology in various ports in the country.
To ensure success and inclusion during the development of this activity, WWF Peru has trained 24 women and 2 men from the community of San Jose, Lambayeque, in the correct assembly of LED lights. For this reason, 400 disassembled LED lights have been shipped and educational materials such as handbooks and tutorial videos have been developed. These virtual workshops were held between July and August, lasting 4 days. In parallel, a gender workshop has been implemented, seeking to promote the self-identification of women within fishing, which is such an important economic activity for the country.
As the next steps, these LED devices will be implemented in 5 vessels of the San Jose Fisheries Cooperative to evaluate their effectiveness in reducing the incidental capture of sea turtles. Likewise, it is expected that these workshops will be replicated with the participation of more women from the fishing community, and that they are organized by those who have already been trained, with the aim of promoting their empowerment.