“In the Pacific Ocean there are 450 different types of seaweed. Their harvest provides a living for the fishing households in San Juan de Marcona.”
Sustainable and safe fishing
Over time, great steps forward have been made in seaweed harvesting. Many of the fishermen formed a cooperative that is nationally recognised for its sustainable fishing and respect for the marine ecosystem. They use a special ‘passive harvesting’ technique that does not damage or remove its holdfasts and allows it to continue to grow and reproduce.
Enel Green Power arrived in San Juan de Marcona in 2015 to collaborate with these fishermen and develop a project that combines support for the local economy and new technologies.
“Together with the fishermen, we conceived solutions to improve the products they sold on the market, increasing their value and therefore their income .”
Some 500 fishermen were trained acquiring technical, management, administrative and marketing skills.
The watchwords are sustainability and safety. Traditional seaweed harvesting is much more hazardous than it appears. That is why one of the major objectives of the project is to ensure ‘zero accidents’.
Renewables can help the sea
San Juan de Marcona has become a sustainable fishing best practice also for nearby communities, where the intensive exploitation of the ecosystem is leading to a lack of seaweed.
“In order to help restocking the area’s seabed we built a new algae processing facility powered by clean energy, namely solar and wind power. ”
By using an energy storage battery connected to the facility, we greatly reduced the use of the old diesel generator and fuel purchasing costs and, most important of all, we ensured stable access to electricity.
The project also includes a laboratory for algae cultivation and the installation of a lighting system along the coast for all fishermen organisations.
Our future with the San Juan de Marcona community has just started.