News Blog

You can keep up with the latest project developments from the people on the ground making them happen via the BWB Blog. We want to hear from you and welcome your comments.

Sustainable Future for Fisherman

Some weeks ago Burners started working with a group of fishermen in Pisco on a redevelopment project with a difference.  A group of local free divers who fish for shellfish, octopus and saltwater fish asked us to help them set up an information centre here in San Andrés.  The Centre will be part museum, part environment centre with the aim of educating local people and tourists about the special marine life here and encouraging them to look after it.  One of the main goals of the divers is to promote more sustainable fishing practices in the area and reverse the recent drop in catch sizes.  This means persuading fishermen to abandon some of their less sustainable, environmentally unfriendly practices which include fishing using dynamite and killing endangered animals like turtles, dolphins and the Humbolt penguin (yep sick as it may seem, some people actually want to eat protected species……).  Fishing is pretty important here and supports a lot of people so the fall in catch size is definitely something to be concerned about, especially given the uniquely rich marine life of the Paracas area.

The group of divers we work with are really motivated (especially their truly enthusiastic president Luis!) and it’s great working with them.  We started by helping them get the Centre (an old public toilets) ready for the biggest day in the San Andrés calendar, 29th June, the Fiesta de San Pedro.  In one and a half weeks a combined effort of our volunteers and the divers had transformed the building.  We repainted the Centre inside and out, fitted bathrooms and started getting some art on the walls, painting murals on the front of the building and inside.

The Fiesta was a great opportunity for the local community to find out what we were up to and, because a local business used the Centre to serve a communal lunch that day, over 1000 people passed through.  Since then, volunteers have continued to cover the walls in amazing art and started preparing the display information for the Centre.  Last Saturday we also sorted 300 kilos of clothes donated to the fishermen, their families and the local community.  We´re currently fundraising for the Centre (i.e. we´ve run out of cash!) so if you´re interested in donating to this project your money will be well spent.  Our aim is to finish the Centre; allowing more natural light in the building, displaying the museum and environment  info, providing a comprehensive resource centre and area for people to work/meet/discuss the issues the Centre raises and we´d also like to kit out a communal kitchen for the fishermen (which could become a restaurant in the future).

A couple of weeks ago the divers organised a trip for a group of volunteers to go out fishing with them and have a go at catching some fish.  It was a fun trip, followed by a superb lunch and a practice run for the ecotourism trips the divers would like to run in the future.  The trips would be pretty special as they´d offer visitors the opportunity to see parts of Paracas not usually seen by tourists and a chance for interaction with people passionate about                                sharing their traditional way of working.  As the flash boats full of tourists had sped past our ‘artesenal’ fishing boat the volunteers were all struck by how authentic their trip had been.
Out on the boat

I love working on this project, we´ve had a great group of volunteers helping and the fishermen are good fun to work with.  We have plenty left to do but it´s great to be able to work on something that will help local development and protect this area which is so important environmentally but faces so many threats.

-Jessica Thimbley


One Response to “Sustainable Future for Fisherman”

  1. Dylan says:

    Wow! Great work supporting local marine life and those living off nature’s bounty. It seems like small scale fisherman could benefit from ecological sustainability education and of course by promoting community and solidarity among them. I’m into spearfishing and throughout my travels in latin america, I have never found an organization like this one. I’ll be living in Colombia next year and checking in on your posts – I’d love to see your facility in person and help out if I’m ever down your way. Thanks!