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A Problem in Peru?

May 16, 2012

This is meaty.  The Vice-minister of Fishing in Peru just recently resigned.  She came in with some strong credentials as a conservation-minded scientist.  She even is a Pew Marine Fellow.

So why did she resign?  She found the broader Ministry (‘Ministerio de Produccion’ or ‘PRODUCE’) to be too in the pocket of industry and, I assume, figured her resignation would draw the needed attention.  Here are some excerpts from an English language interview:

I entered a ministry that traditionally has been controlled by the industry, so it has lots of processes that are designed not to work…The boats enter within 5 miles (of the coast) or catch fish of prohibited sizes, the GPS don’t work, the scales lie, false holds, blocking the inspectors’ access, licenses to fish sardine while actually fishing for anchovy, licenses to fish anchovy for human consumption but actually using it for fishmeal. There are tricks for every step. When I made a presentation and said, after investigating, that there was an undeclared catch of 20-40% above the limit for anchovy, they yelled and screamed because it was admitting that we were overfishing.

If you speak Spanish, the resignation letter is far more illuminating and damning of the Ministry.

Also, if you remember, quite a few problems were pointed out by the ICIJ Looting the Seas reporting project that I blogged about here.

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