Small fish farmers in Mesoamerica formed a network to promote cooperation and the exchange of experiences that contribute to the inclusive development of this sector, in which it is estimated that at least 18,000 producers operate, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization reported Wednesday. Agriculture (FAO).
The so-called Mesoamerican Network of Small-Scale Aquaculturists brings together members of organizations from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic, who already have a plan that includes various exchange and capacity-building actions through of virtual media.
The objective is to achieve a “positive impact on the food security of families dedicated to aquaculture and the revitalization of local economies,” said the FAO Subregional Office for Mesoamerica.
The FAO subregional coordinator, Adoniram Sanches Peraci, explained that this new network was born after the creation of three Subregional Committees promoted by the FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean.
Among them is the Mesoamerican Committee for the Celebration of the International Year of Fisheries and Aquaculture (AIPAA-2022 Committee), in the framework of which the absence of coordination, exchange and cooperation mechanisms between small-scale aquaculture organizations was identified. of the region, affirmed the FAO Principal Officer for Fisheries and Aquaculture for Latin America and the Caribbean, Alejandro Flores.
“The weakness of the national aquaculture registration systems does not allow us to reliably specify the number of aquaculturists with limited resources and micro and small businesses in the region. However, it is estimated that around 18,000 micro-scale aquaculture producers operate in Mesoamerican countries”, said Flores.
These producers work “with high geographic dispersion, including indigenous groups, women and youth, many of them in the informal sector, and consequently outside the benefits provided by official programs created to support them,” he added.
Their situation is completely different from their counterparts in artisanal fishing, which have consolidated the exchange of experiences and have strengthened their negotiating position in international forums, the official pointed out.
The new network will function with a simple structure and has chosen as coordinator-founder Dr. Francisco Martínez, from the Tilapia-Mexico Network.
The FAO and the Organization of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Sector of the Central American Isthmus (Ospesca) were included as observer organizations that will technically accompany the processes of the Mesoamerican Network of Small-Scale Aquaculturists.