Peru’s Fishing Industry Faces Threat From Illegal Shipyards

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News in brief:
– Rampant construction of unauthorised artisanal boats and illegal shipyards in Peru, in violation of a 2015 ban, poses a severe threat to the country’s fishing industry.
– Despite legislative efforts to curb illegal practices and formalise artisanal fishing, enforcement challenges, corruption, and lax oversight persist.

In an interview with EL PAÍS, Jacinto Galán, a leader in San José, Lambayeque, bemoans the dwindling resources for artisanal fishermen. The cause? The proliferation of illegal shipyards along Peru’s coastline, threatening the nation’s vital fishing industry.

Galán’s struggle is emblematic of a broader crisis facing Peru’s fishing communities. As artisanal boats proliferate, dwindling biomass forces fishermen to venture farther out to sea for increasingly meager returns. Compounding the issue are illegal shipyards, mushrooming along the coastline despite government directives against their construction.

illegal shipyards

Breach of regulations

In 2018, the Ministry of Production introduced the Artisanal Fishing Formalization System (SIFORPA) to regulate vessels. However, by July 2023, only a fraction had undergone verification, exposing widespread informality. Large ships masquerading as smaller ones further complicate the issue, leading to disorder in the sector.

Carlos Yenque, manager of the National Society of Artisanal Fishing, reveals deceptive practices. Misregistered vessels intensify pressure on marine life and some license plates are cloned, highlighting a lack of ethical supervision and corrupt practices in monitoring the fishing industry.

Despite regulations and warnings about declining squid harvests, compliance remains low. Proposed laws, like the one extending vessel registration, raise concerns about overfishing. Meanwhile, a law criminalizing illegal boat construction awaits evaluation.

Peru’s fishing regulations, symbolised by Law 31749, struggle to address the challenges. The imbalance in traditional and industrial fishing zones adds to the uncertainty. A 2020 study warns of growing poverty among fishermen due to the overexploitation of the seas, with the iconic giant squid becoming scarcer.

Chinwendu Ohabughiro
Chinwendu Ohabughiro
Chinwendu Gift Ohabughiro has a background in English and Literary Studies from Imo State University. She brings a fresh perspective to the world of agriculture writing. When she's not penning compelling content, she's likely lost in the pages of a thrilling mystery or treating herself to the sinful delight of chocolate.


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