CAF to Help Ecuadorian Fishing Industry Adopt Ecosystem-Friendly Practices
1 May 2012: The Latin American Development Bank (CAF) has signed an agreement with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to prepare a technical-economic feasibility study on replacing fishing craft and gear with equipment more friendly to the marine ecosystem, including a financing scheme that would allow the Government of Ecuador to implement the strategy along the entire Ecuadorian coast. The study would be developed in cooperation with Ecuador's National Federation of Small Scale Fisheries Cooperatives (FENACOPEC) and Eastern Pacific Fisheries School.
Many small-scale fishermen in Ecuador use longline, a line several kilometers long with baited hooks attached at intervals by means of branch lines, in order to catch fish in demand such as tuna, billfish and dorado. The method also catches large quantities of fish not sought by the fishermen ("by-catch"), including sea turtles, sharks and marine mammals, harming the marine ecosystem. WWF has been working with Ecuadorian fishermen since 2004 to reduce by-catch through changes in line hooks and practices, particularly regarding sea turtles.
FENACOPEC and WWF hope that the CAF feasibility study will pave the way for a financing scheme facilitating access by fishermen to loans for efficient fishing gears and boats that reduce their by-catch and other impacts on marine ecosystems. [CAF Press Release]