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.