COVID-19  Peru Project #47034

PPE for Peru fishing communities

by Future of Fish
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PPE for Peru fishing communities
PPE for Peru fishing communities
PPE for Peru fishing communities
PPE for Peru fishing communities
PPE for Peru fishing communities
PPE for Peru fishing communities
PPE for Peru fishing communities
PPE for Peru fishing communities
PPE for Peru fishing communities
PPE for Peru fishing communities
PPE for Peru fishing communities
PPE for Peru fishing communities
PPE for Peru fishing communities
PPE for Peru fishing communities
PPE for Peru fishing communities
PPE for Peru fishing communities
PPE for Peru fishing communities
PPE for Peru fishing communities
PPE for Peru fishing communities
PPE for Peru fishing communities
PPE for Peru fishing communities
PPE for Peru fishing communities
PPE for Peru fishing communities
Fishers in Parachique
Fishers in Parachique

Back in June we launched PPE for Fisheries, a campaign to support fishers and seafood traders in Peru’s small fishing villages with the necessary protective gear and sanitation supplies to safely provide fish — a vital source of nutrition — to the Peruvian population. This project was developed in response to the crises of worker safety and food supply caused by Covid-19. Since then, we have been able to expand PPE for Fisheries from its initial connection with three villages to provide protective equipment, supporting over 1400 fishing vessels and 7750 fishers in 8 villages up and down the coast.

Since June - through the generous support of donors such as yourself, we were able to raise over $7500 USD to support the health and safety of small scale seafood workers in Peru. Thanks to these donations Future of Fish working closely with our partners have been able to provide over 2450 reusable face masks, 250 litres of sanitizer and bleach, 190 facial shields and 10 boot cleaning stations. These vital sanitation and safety supplies were delivered to the communities as requested alongside other basic medical equipment such as digital thermometers and blood oxygen readers to help communities feel safe while at sea. 

As global reports have shown, women have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Your generous gifts supported local women’s groups in the coastal communities as well as purchased reusable masks from Awamaki artisans from the Peruvian highlands. 

The pandemic has highlighted many gaps in our global food supply system. At Future of Fish we believe in addressing the social and economic challenges small scale fishing communities face to help enable them to make the shifts necessary for long term ocean health. Learning more about the chronic systemic health issues that communities are dealing with - our team has been focusing on building partnerships to support basic needs, build resiliency and secure sustainable livelihoods. Stay in touch with us by subscribing to our newsletter as we support holistic development and empower coastal communities in Peru.  www.futureoffish.org/contact-us

The community of Paita receiving supplies.
The community of Paita receiving supplies.

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Back in June we launched PPE for Fisheries, a campaign to support fishers and seafood traders in Peru’s small fishing villages with the necessary protective gear and sanitation supplies to safely provide fish — a vital source of nutrition — to the Peruvian population. This project was developed in response to the crises of worker safety and food supply caused by Covid-19. Since then, we have been able to expand PPE for Fisheries from its initial connection with three villages to provide protective equipment, supporting over 7400 fishers at 8 villages up and down the coast. 

What we’ve been doing

Our first deliveries of PPE went to fishers and fisher co-ops in Parichique, La Islilla, and La Tortuga. These communities all have high seas small scale fleets catching mahi or squid, and have faced the greatest market impact from Covid-19, because their product depends on international buyers. These villages also have fishers that work closer to land and provide seafood to their local community, so the protective equipment served a double benefit.

Since then, we’ve also delivered PPE to Yacila, Paita, El Ñuro, and Los Organos, and we’re working on sourcing equipment for women seafood workers in Quilca and El Ñuro. To date, we have supplied: 

  • 2440 reusable fabric masks
  • 320 liters of liquid soap
  • 140 liters of sanitizer
  • 11 cleaning backpacks for sanitizing boat decks
  • 10 full-body protective suits

So far, the PPE and protective gear we have supplied has reflected what fishers and local leaders told us they needed to return safely to work. Now we’re extending our support beyond the fishers themselves, to include the people that work along the supply chain. Landing sites are the next major areas we have identified for support, as they are an important gathering point (and risk area) where women, kids, and buyers all intersect as they offload, coordinate, and pick up fish. Along with PPE, landing site workers need additional resources to help with worker safety, like thermometers and plastic tubs for handwashing and boot sanitation.

What’s next

As we expand our efforts beyond the initial crisis of PPE for fishers, we’ve been hearing from fishers, receivers, and community members about what more they need in order to work safely. PPE is a necessary first step, but protecting workers during a pandemic — and indeed any time — requires a wider toolkit of resources. Fishers have identified first-aid kits as a major need. Most boats in the small-scale fleets don’t have first aid kits on board as they’re relatively expensive, but they are a vital tool that can support fishers in case someone gets hurt or begins to have Covid symptoms while at sea, and to protect other fishers from infection. 

From the beginning, we knew that fisher health in the time of Covid-19 was more complex than just providing access to PPE. Along with the expanded community needs for first aid kits on boats and protective gear for workers at other nodes in the supply chain, we’ve learned more about the chronic systemic health issues that some communities are dealing with: some communities lack medical infrastructure, don’t have full-time medical staff living locally, or access to preventative care.

These are complex problems that can’t be fixed overnight. We’ve begun conversations with allies and potential partners about these issues, and are looking at ways to support wider health needs in the area. As our work in Peru continues, we’re thinking about the ways we can engage with the wider healthcare system, because we know that healthy oceans, healthy fishers, and healthy communities are deeply intertwined.

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Fisher working early morning.
Fisher working early morning.

In Peru, small scale fisheries play a critical role in food security and the national economy, supplying approximately 95% of the seafood consumed domestically and producing $902 million (USD) in revenue annually. Not surprisingly, then, fishers are considered essential workers. But in villages such as La Islilla — where deficient medical infrastructure means that COVID spread is an ongoing concern — even essential fishing is too risky without proper PPE (personal protective equipment). But sourcing of PPE and sanitation resources for businesses to open safely during the COVID pandemic has been difficult in Peru, including within the seafood sector. This has left fishers without a secure source of income, and communities without safe, consistent access to the seafood they rely on for nutrition.

After two months and generous support from people around the world, we are pleased to report that fishers now have the PPE they need to be able to work safely. To date, the over $6000 raised has provided 200 bottles of hand soap, 12 liters of hand sanitizer, 1400 reusable cloth masks, 6 spray cleaning backpacks used for decontaminating fishing gear and boats, and 20 full body protective suits to protect the wearer from sanitation spray. In the video below, fishers and community members talk about the impacts that COVID-19 has had on their livelihood, and the importance of access to PPE for their ongoing ability to fish and support their families.

PPE for Fishers Video

With the early success of “PPE for Fisheries,” we’re now working to expand the program, continuing our crowdfunding campaign, and also partnering with funding organizations and artisans to source and supply PPE to more fishers and their families. This is an ongoing need that many communities face, with fishers concerned about dangerous conditions on board vessels as deaths from Covid-19 continue. Our work in La Islilla goes beyond immediate COVID relief. As embedded allies in the system, we will continue to support La Islilla and other communities in efforts to build a more equitable and environmentally sustainable seafood trade—work that includes continued health and safety of fishers and their families to secure their right to decent work.

As we work to further support La Islilla and engage other communities, long-term sustainable funding is critical for our efforts. The support of our community and partners will help us build more equitable, traceable, sustainable fisheries and supply chains for millions of people who rely on fisheries for food and nutrition, both in Peru and abroad.

Cleaning vessel
Cleaning vessel

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Organization Information

Future of Fish

Location: Bethesda, MD - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @futureoffish
Project Leader:
Julie Budkowski
Bethesda, MD United States

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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