Future of Fish announces a new campaign to get PPE to fishing villages in Peru.
Fishers are essential workers, but what happens when they don’t have the gear they need to work safely in a pandemic? This week, Future of Fish launches a new campaign in partnership with fishers from La Islilla, Peru, to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to the fishers and seafood workers who need it most.
In Peru, small scale fisheries play a critical role in food security, supplying approximately 95% of the seafood consumed domestically. But without proper PPE, even essential work like fishing becomes too high risk, leaving communities without food or fishers risking their own health or livelihood. Sourcing the PPE and sanitation resources needed for businesses to open safely has been difficult in the developed world, and even harder in countries like Peru where it is urgently needed and for many small scale fishers and market vendors, nearly impossible to find.
Future of Fish, the international nonprofit that works with small scale fishers to empower thriving coastal communities, has launched “PPE for fisheries,” a new campaign to support fishers and seafood traders in three small fishing villages with the necessary protective gear and sanitation supplies to safely provide fish — a vital source of nutrition — to the Peruvian population.
“For more than 3 months we have been without our work, fishing...we have to continue somehow. What we want is to support the wellbeing of our whole community,” says Roberto Carlos Vite Bayona, mayor of La Islilla. Future of Fish is working with fishers and leaders like Bayona to assess community needs, and collaborating with local partners to source PPE and facilitate delivery to where supplies are needed most. “Fishing communities along the coast haven't received the necessary aid to safely continue fishing without worrying for their health. We're mobilizing to support fishers, so they can stay safe and adapt their markets for a post-COVID world” says Chris Giordano, Peru Implementation Lead at Future of Fish.
The need for PPE is especially acute in Peru’s small fishing villages like La Islilla, where limited medical infrastructure means that COVID spread would be catastrophic. To help prevent outbreaks similar to those which have plagued nearby villages in the region, the roads into La Islilla were closed and business was put on pause when the pandemic struck. Even with these measures in place, 15 residents tested positive for COVID-19 this week, making the need for PPE even more urgent to prevent further spread, and to ensure fishers can safely provide essential food to their communities. Mutual support between everyone is necessary, we're constantly looking for the means to support ourselves and our family members” says Mayor Bayona.
The campaign starts with La Islilla, with the intention to expand into nearby communities once funds are raised and supply lines are secured. So far, the first round of supplies have been delivered to La Islilla, including 200 reusable masks and over 100 bottles of hand soap and hand sanitizer. Many more are needed. “This campaign is a critical first step to support the safety and food security of these coastal communities. But we also believe that stabilizing local seafood trade today will also help create greater resiliency for these communities by building the networks and supply chains that can better respond to global shocks in the future” says Marah Hardt, Future of Fish’s Director of Discovery.
With coordinated efforts and the help of partners like Future of Fish, small scale fishing communities in Peru will be empowered to work safely as COVID-19 continues to spread, providing food for their communities and ensuring a stable livelihood.
To learn more about the PPE for Fisheries campaign or to contribute to the cause, visit the campaign page on the Global Giving website.
Press contact: Julie Budkowski
Published June 4, 2020